Trees to be removed from State House lawn

MONTPELIER — The State House will be a bit less shady this summer.

On Saturday, the five large maple trees closest to the sidewalk along State Street will be cut down, a move prompted by the trees’ poor health and their effect on other nearby maples.

For several years, Ira Moser, grounds supervisor at the State House, has advocated for the trees’ removal, a move that would follow the previous removal of some large maples from the lawn that were also located next to State Street, to the west of the large sidewalk that leads up to the front doors of the building.

“What we’re fighting right now is soil compaction and salt,” Moser said of the trees slated to be removed early Saturday morning.

All five of the trees were planted between 30 and 40 years ago. Of the five, only one is healthy, said Moser, who is a certified and licensed arborist.

“These trees, although they look healthy, are not healthy,” said Moser, noting one of the trees has lost much of its bark, while another has profound structural issues with the trunk.

Not only are the trees themselves unhealthy, but their large canopies are blocking sunlight from reaching a second row of maples planted several years ago that run parallel to the trees slated for removal.

Along with Hubbard Park, the State House lawn is popular place for Montpelier residents and visitors to read, picnic or toss around a Frisbee.

The removal of the large maples will restore the sense of symmetry between the east and west sides of the lawn, an overall goal for Moser and others.

Complicating matters slightly is the fact that three of the trees are dedicated to former state governors: Robert Stafford, 1959-1961; F. Ray Keyser Jr., 1961-1963; and Thomas Salmon, 1973-1977.

Moser said the dedication plaques in front of the trees will be relocated to the row of small maples behind them, along with a new plaque explaining the change.

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