FERGUS – While old trees sometimes need to come down to make way for infrastructure, one legacy maple was able to be preserved in Fergus.
On Saturday morning, the community gathered around 365 Garafraxa St. W in Fergus to watch as Tree Trust Centre Wellington officially stewarded their program’s 10th tree, an old sugar maple.
Jamie McDonald, community engagement coordinator with Tree Trust CW, explained in a phone interview this tree was set to be removed by the township because of upcoming road construction.
However, McDonald said the township allowed Tree Trust to preserve the tree because of public dismay over a recent loss of a 100-year old tree on St. George Street.
“The tree is still in good health, it just needed some TLC, and they could mitigate road construction to not harm the tree any further,” McDonald said.
Tree Trust hired arborists, with help from a sponsorship by the local Rotary Club, to prune the tree and they explained how what they did extended the tree's life.
Eimear O’Neill, the property owner where the tree lives, said in a phone interview she was pleased to see the community come together and appreciate the importance of legacy trees.
“There’s no amount of planting new trees that can make up for the value of an old tree,” O’Neill said, noting how much more carbon dioxide they take out of the atmosphere.
McDonald said she was glad the property owner already understood the importance of saving as many legacy trees as possible. She said one mature tree does the work of nearly 300 saplings.
“There’s carbon storage, shade and stormwater mitigation, so instead of having all this stormwater go and overcrowd our systems it just absorbs into the ground and into the roots,” McDonald said.
Both women said they were touched by the attendance of a few local children who came by with signs and sang a song all about appreciating trees.
“I think that’s so important that young ones in the community are connected in saving the older trees,” O’Neill said. “They’re the ones who will benefit from it and they’re the ones who do not benefit when those trees are clearcut.”