Keeping Our Trees Healthy

Brookfield Heritage Neighborhood Association was formed in the 1970s to renew the Neighborhood covenants and also to protect and restore the streetscape of silver maple trees. Initially, the Association was able to obtain small grants from the City for tree replacement but when these grants ceased, the Neighborhood took over funding for tree replacement. Forty trees have been replaced and paid for by donations, fund-raising activities, and dues. At present, each tree costs approximately $350 plus planting and therefore represents a considerable investment by the Neighborhood. For this reason, it is vital that we take care of all our trees and especially the newly planted trees until they are well established. The following guidelines for homeowners will assist in this.

1. Please ask guests to park their vehicles so all wheels are on the road. Parking on the grass compacts soil around trees affecting water uptake.

2. Do not pile leaves, brush or mulch against tree bark. Doing so allows mold growth, which damages bark. If you mulch, place it several inches away from the tree trunk.

Information about pickup of leaves and brush by the City can be found at

3. Use care with weed whips, which can cut bark allowing rot to enter.

4. Keep easily reachable suckers trimmed. These are unsightly but also rob the tree of nutrients needed for major branches.

5. Remember that streetscape trees belong to the City including those planted by the Neighborhood Association. If a limb falls or you believe a tree to be dangerous, call the Department of Public Works (517-337-9459). The City usually responds almost immediately, even on weekends. They will take down dangerous limbs and trees as well as clean up. If you lose a tree, be sure to ask the City to grind out the stump. If you want a replacement tree, let me know (517-351-6958).

6. Our trees are known for being drought resistant, but our young ones may need watering during extensive dry periods, such as this summer. If you notice branches or leaves drooping, dying leaves or stem tips, please water. Place a trickling hose in the bowl around the tree and leave on for about 45 minutes once a week until reasonable rainfall occurs (0.5 inches).

7. The replacement trees purchased using neighborhood funds are Acer Freemanii (Autumn Blaze), which is a cross between a red maple and silver maple. It is seedless. The variety received recognition as the Tree of the Year in 1997 by the Iowa Nursery and Landscape Association and in 2004 by Society of Municipal Arborists. It exhibits the fast growth of a silver maple, but has stronger limbs. It has a bright red/orange color in the fall as the name suggests. The tree has an oval shape rather than the arching limbs of the silver maples, but this leads to the better strength.

Patricia Robinson
1523 Roseland
August 2012