Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

October 16, 2012

Tree giveaway a response to drought

Ezra Mann
Pauls Valley Democrat

emann@pvdemocrat.com — With all of the impacts of drought, from wildfires to lost farm crops, there hasn’t been an area in Oklahoma able to escape some kind of harm throughout 2012.

One victim literally hitting home even for residents of Pauls Valley has been trees in almost every neighborhood, a big deal for a community often noticed for having so much of the foliage, according to PV Parks and Recreation Director Jennifer Samford.

As a result the city has qualified for a chance to replace some of those consumed due to the conditions through a tree giveaway set for Monday, Oct. 22.

“The drought’s just been rough on trees across the state,” said Samford. “It’s just a bad thing for a tree.”

However, loss of said trees isn’t simply the result of a lack of rainfall, but part of a domino effect starting with an ice storm in 2010 and then plants weakened further by two years of dry heat, said Samford.

Some of the trees were lost by a lack of water, but others became susceptible to disease or bugs and it was widespread from saplings to large adult trees difficult to remove.

It was earlier this year when those with the city’s tree board applied for what was basically a tree grant through the Tree Bank in Oklahoma City and the Apache Foundation, which resulted in awarding the community about 150 trees, said Samford.

Those living in the city limits can come by and pick up one for their family in front of the Reynolds Recreation Center in Wacker Park on that Monday from 5 p.m. until the trees are gone.

“The reason the tree board applied for the trees is there are so many residents who lost trees because of the drought,” said Samford.

“This is a way that the foundation can help homeowners to replace them.”

Samford even plans to replace some of the trees lost in public spots like land near the local senior citizens center and noted how it is a win situation for all involved.

To pick up a tree, anyone who wants one has to show up in person and the five varieties in three gallon planters to chose from include oak, maple, redbuds, elm and pistahce.

“It’s something good for us, but good for the community too,” said Samford. “We can use some and give some away... We’re passing the benefit along to citizens.”