January 20, 2019

A Tree Still Grows In Watertown…

At the developing Waterbury Bus Maintenance Facility crews are making great progress since beginning site work on June 1 (see “On the Move,” next page). The 20-acre location, where the long-gone Watertown Drive-In Theater once played, was transformed into a wide-open setting in under three weeks.

Among the conservation measures here are a 25-foot treed buffer along the westerly bank of the Naugatuck River that bounds the property, the destruction and removal of all invasive species on the site, protection of the Eastern cotton tail rabbit habitat and extensively replanting trees and shrubs  at project’s end. One special measure, stipulated on the development plan, was to protect an historic shade tree near the site’s entrance off Frost Bridge Road. Arborculturalist Peter Moritz of Acorn Tree Care was called in to tend to the tree. He judges this particular American sycamore, Platanus occidentalis, to be at least 100 years old because of its four-and-a-half-foot diameter. It stands nearly 90 feet tall.

The team, in fact, took “protecting the tree” to the next level. Moritz cleared under the tree to its drip line, removing invasive species, another tree that was growing up through the sycamore, and vines that had tangled themselves thru the sycamore’s branches. He also pruned the tree, thinned its crown, added a cable to support a large branch and spread mulch under it to retain moisture. The tree has survived as an especially large and vigorous specimen; now it has a more secure future.