October Snowstorm Took Toll on Trees
Verona has replaced about 60 percent of the trees damaged in the most expensive storm in town history.
It’s been almost a year since the rare October snowstorm pummeled most of Northern New Jersey, but Verona Shade Tree Commission Chairman Bob Dickison says the township trees are still haven’t fully recovered.
Nearly 600 township trees were affected by the storm, Dickison said and township trees are “about 60 percent back to where we were.”
“Later on in the planting season, either this fall or next spring,” Dickison said, “we will try to get the remainder in.”
Township Manager Joseph Martin called the storm, “the most expensive storm in the history of Verona.”
Trees have been a source of pride throughout the township and Verona has even won Tree City USA awards from the Arbor Day Foundation. The town has received the award almost every year since 1980.
“Trees are one of the highlights of any community; they establish a quality of life,” said Township Engineer Jim Helb.
“Imagine if you lived in a town with no trees,” Dickison said. “They are an integral part of the community. They provide shade, oxygen and have a cooling affect.”
The commission, created to regulate trees the town is responsible for, are a group of volunteer members who make up a formal commission appointed by the township council to manage and care for the town's trees.
“As the town was growing, with the new neighborhoods that were growing after the Second World War, they decided that having a group of people to oversee the care of their trees would be beneficial,” said Bob Prout, a current member of the group.
Prout, a member of the group since 1979, has held the title of chairman and vice chairman of the group.
“Bob Dickison is wonderful for the town of Verona,” said Prout. “He has a knowledge of horticulture that is really superb.”
The Shade Tree Commission is tasked with tree planting, trimming, pruning, removal, developing budgets and advising both the public works department and the mayor and council.
“When we do projects we always ask for their input as to the type of selection of trees, where they should be placed, where they should be spaced, the variety of the type of tree because they are ultimately responsible for those trees,” Helb said.
Since October, however, all the group’s efforts have gone to cleaning up after the storm and getting back to square one, said Prout.
“We try to replace as many trees as we can each year. The town council and administration has been very supportive, especially since the storm last fall,” he said. “All the towns took a big hit in that snowstorm. Verona is one of the more proactive towns as far as getting it back to looking decent, which directly affects the property values.”
“Everyone wants to live on a nicely pruned street, he added.
The Verona Shade Tree Commission meets for a public meeting on the second Tuesday of every month at town hall.