City Waiting Until August to Replace Palm Trees
POSTED: Monday, June 27, 2011 - 11:26am
UPDATED: Saturday, July 2, 2011 - 6:20pm
EL PASO - Chances are you've seen them. They're an eyesore and they're all over El Paso.
But even though some of them look dead, there's still a chance they could be alive. We're talking about the dozens of palm trees damaged by the deep freeze in February.
"As late as last week we've had some come out,” said Brent Pearson, a city arborist.
That's why the city's Transportation Department says it's not ready to start removing any palm trees, no matter how dead they may look. Pearson says the Transportation Department has about 500 palms in medians and along roads and he estimates up to 35% are dead.
"We're hoping that the percentage gets better but we'll see."
The city says it plans to replace as many dead palm trees as possible with other trees that can withstand future freezing temps, but in some cases, it won't be possible.
"If the dominant tree on the landscape turns out to be palms, like on Geronimo, then we'll stay with the palm. But where we can plant other trees we'll look at other varieties."
So how much does the city think it will cost to replace up to 170 trees?
"It's not a cheap deal. They're heavy and we'll have to set up traffic control and get some heavy equipment to move them out," said Pearson.
While Pearson said it's still too early to estimate what it will cost, most of the trees will be coming from the city's own tree farm. That's much cheaper than buying them.
"I wish trees had a heartbeat so we could declare them dead or alive but at this point we just have to sit and wait to find out which ones come out and which ones don't."
The city says it will start removing dead palm trees by the end of August, when enough time has gone by to make sure they're not still alive.