BELGRADE LAKES — Jonathan Dyer admired the three sugar maples saplings the Tree Committee planted beneath the 80-year-old silver maples lining his front lawn.

Branches closest to the trunk of the older silver maples are rotted. The center of one tree has snapped off completely. The tree closest to the road is missing a huge extended limb, which took out power lines two years ago during a thunderstorm that toppled and uprooted trees along Main Street in Belgrade Lakes village.

Dyer’s trees are slated to be removed when the Maine Department of Transportation upgrades the 0.3-mile segment on Route 27 and builds sidewalks. The project could be funded in the transportation department’s 2014-15 capital work plan.

The Belgrade Lakes Streetscape Committee has submitted a 13-year-old streetscape plan for the village that has been updated and approved by selectmen.

Tish Carr, the town’s tree warden, said some of the old trees that line the street will have to be removed. The committee for the past few years has been planting replacements, 8-foot-tall pine oak and 6-foot-tall sugar maples.

Carr said the committee has taken a proactive approach to maintaining the tree canopy along the street. The town is paying for the replacement trees out of the committee’s account, which receives $2,000 each year from the town.

“I wish I could live long enough so I could see them this size,” Dyer said, eyeing the length of the 100-foot silver maple closest to his front sidewalk. “But this is great. It’s a nice replacement for the trees.”

Carr couldn’t say how long it will take for the trees to gain some height. She said the first few years most of the growth will be in the root system.

“But they’ll catch up fast,” she said. “The critical issue is the soil. Sandy soil would be best, but we have a lot of clay here.”

Rich Baker, chairman of the Tree Committee, said his group will be planting trees in May or June. He said there are several other large silver maples that are diseased a few houses down from Dyer.

“They’re not in very good shape and we want to make sure we got trees started when they come down,” Baker said.

Baker said the Maine Lakes Resource Center in the heart of the village wants an evergreen or blue spruce that could be decorated at Christmas. He said the resource center also expressed interested in having another tree planted in the lot it owns next to the post office.

The new trees are being planted farther away from the road edge than the existing trees because the sidewalks and road work will widen the roadway.

Sidewalks might have to be 5-feet wide, according to state regulations.

“We’re really trying very hard to work in concert with MDOT and the Streetscape Committee to maintain as many trees as we can,” she said. “We have a beautiful canopy. And as much as the silver maples are a challenge, they slow traffic down.”

There might be a battle with one homeowner, Carr said. A family with a huge maple tree on the edge of the road across the street from Days Store doesn’t want their tree removed.

“We have to take it down,” Carr said. “It’s huge hazard. A major safety issue. There’s no root structure to it. It’s decaying and in a high traffic area. As much as I love trees, that tree is just scary.”

Landowners along Main Street from the West Road intersection at the south of the village to the bridge over Mill Stream at the north end who are interested in having a tree or trees planted between their home and the road should call Baker at 495-3422.

Mechele Cooper — 621-5663

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.