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Trees chosen for downtown Canton

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CANTON — Five different tree species will be planted downtown next spring to replace those that were cut down in June to make way for the Route 11 reconstruction project.

Design plans include planting 47 new trees along Main Street between the Main Street bridge and Park Street, which is about the same number of trees that were removed there, according to Jonathan M. Adams, a landscape architect with the state Department of Transportation, Watertown.

The planting should take only a couple of days and likely will take place sometime between March 15 and May 31, Mr. Adams said.

An additional 84 trees will be planted in the residential section of East Main Street between Park Street and Stiles Avenue.

The 131 trees that will be planted are 26 more than were cut down, Mr. Adams said.

“I anticipate the majority of the trees both downtown and in the residential areas to be installed by next spring,” he said.

In cooperation with the village tree committee, a plan for downtown landscaping was developed a few years ago when DOT officials were starting to plan the reconstruction project.

The five species selected are honey locust, Japanese tree lilac, Amur maple, hackberry and flowering crabapple. The crabapple will be planted near the bridge.

Sugar maples won’t be planted downtown because they generally don’t thrive in that type of setting, Mr. Adams said.

He said root systems for large trees need sufficient space and don’t tolerate salt very well.

“They typically don’t do well in a sidewalk setting, compared to out in a park,” Mr. Adams said.

However, additional plantings for the residential area include sugar maple, horse chestnut, red maple, red oak, serviceberry and Norway spruce trees.

Village officials decided they didn’t want fruit trees because the fruit drops onto the sidewalk and makes a mess.

The trees downtown will be a mix of small and large, with small trees growing to about 20 to 25 feet tall and large trees 40 to 60 feet tall.

During the planning period, concerns about the aesthetics of downtown were “fairly controversial,” Mr. Adams said, recalling that community members worried about tree removal and taking down Main Street’s ornamental light posts.

DOT officials worked with two separate village groups, the tree committee and light committee, to develop plans.

Mr. Adams said each tree species was evaluated carefully using the publication “Recommended Urban Trees: Site Assessment and Tree Selection for Stress Tolerance” from Cornell University, Ithaca.

The trees will be planted by a subcontractor that will be hired by Luck Bros. Inc., the Plattsburgh firm serving as general contractor.

Thomas A. Maroun Jr., DOT’s project engineer, said circular metal grates will enclose the bases of the trees and allow water to drain.

Installation of new concrete sidewalks and stairwells is nearly complete downtown. Bricks will be installed on the street-side portion of the sidewalk next to the row of trees.

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