PORT TOWNSEND — Shovels scraped the ground and collided with rocks and dirt as a small group of volunteers celebrated Arbor Day.
They got together Friday morning at the west end of the Mountain View Dog Park to plant three paper birch trees at 1925 Blaine St., Port Townsend.
The trees, native to the Pacific Northwest, will add shade to the west end of the park, particularly in the summer time, when dogs and their owners might need a reprieve from the heat.
“We’re very excited to plant natives, particularly ones that are as popular as our local species,” said Debbie Jahnke, the chair of the city’s parks, recreation and tree advisory board. “They grow very fast, and they’re very tolerant.”
Port Townsend is one of more than 3,500 communities involved with Tree City USA, which requires four core standards of urban forestry management: The city maintains a tree advisory board, has a community tree ordinance, spends at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and celebrates Arbor Day by planting trees.
The paper birch trees were shipped from Puget Sound Plants, a wholesale landscape nursery in Olympia, said Bre Ganne, the lead operator for the city’s parks and recreation department.
Ganne and city maintenance worker Don Cady had the 18- to 21-foot trees standing upright next to holes when the volunteer crew arrived at 9 a.m.
The trees were contained in smart pots with the roots air pruned, Ganne said.
“It’s not strangling itself, so it’s good to get them in the smart pots,” she said.
Once the trees were wrestled into place, Cady cut away the wrap that held the roots together, and the volunteers filled in the dirt.
Jahnke was joined by her husband, Richard, as well as Owen Rowe and Jennifer Rotermund.
Richard Jahnke sits on the city’s planning commission while Rowe is running unopposed for a City Council position and Rotermund is a landscaper.
Ganne said the trees could grow between 50 and 60 feet tall.
“They’re pretty tough trees,” Rotermund said. “Sometimes these trees withstand all types of abuse and do just fine.”
Debbie Jahnke said the trees are well-suited for the climate.
“They’re used to dry summers and wet winters,” she said.
Jefferson County Managing Editor Brian McLean can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 6, or at [email protected].