City Forester Offers 90th, Meinecke Neighbors Choice of Trees

Residents may also opt to pay more for a larger tree than the city would normally plant, although it isn't necessarily recommended.


As a gesture of goodwill, it probably won't go far enough with some residents of North 90th Street who remain angry and distraught over the disruption they will suffer during the .

But those who are will be given more choice in replacements than many Tosa residents would have.

In recent years, the Forestry Division of the Public Works Department has greatly diversified the types of trees it will plant along the city's streets. But it still has a master plan that assigns certain trees to certain city blocks.

In most cases, if you were to lose a street tree in front of your property, its replacement would be selected from the master plan, and you would have little or no choice in the matter (although you can always ask).

Because of the uproar over the Meinecke Project, the city has agreed to expand choices of replacement trees for those affected. It will likely do the same in some future projects, such as the East Tosa/Schoonmaker Creek Project, which is far larger and still on the drawing board.

Any options available in that or other projects remain to be determined, and may not be the same as those announced for the Meinecke Project.

Trees available to project homeowners

The following trees are in the master plan for the streets most affected by the Meinecke Project. Residents who don't have another preference will see these trees planted in front of their homes:

  • 90th Street from North to Meinecke avenues: Sunburst honey locust (30 to 35 feet tall, on average)
  • 90th Street from North Avenue to Menomonee River Parkway: Amur corktree (although the city has been unable to purchase these recently, and has not yet identified a substitute if they remain unavailable) (15 to 20 feet)
  • Meinecke Avenue from North 80th to North 86th streets: Sterling Silver linden (40 to 60 feet)
  • Meinecke from 86th to 90th: Emerald Queen maple (50 to 60 feet)
  • Wright Street from 80th to 85th: Deborah maple (40 to 60 feet)

Those who live at any addresses known to be losing trees – other incidental losses are expected to occur during the course of construction – have been offered these additional choices, if those above don't strike their fancy.

  • Turkish filbert (40 to 50 feet tall)
  • Ginkgo (60 to 80 feet)
  • Ironwood (20 to 30 feet, sometimes taller)
  • Serviceberry (12 to 15 feet)
  • Swamp white oak (50 to 80 feet)
  • English oak (50 to 80 feet)
  • Swamp white/bur oak hybrid (50 to 80 feet)
  • Kentucky coffeetree (60 to 70 feet)

The Forestry Division notes that except where it is the default tree in the master plan, no species or cultivar of maple may be selected.

One further option offered to dismayed homeowners is to pay for a larger tree than the city typically plants – which are typically about 2 inches in diameter.

Four-inch caliper trees of the types noted above, as available, may be purchased by a property owner for $850, installed.

But Parks and Forestry Superintendent Ken Walbrant warns that the instant gratification of a larger tree does not necessarily equate to long-term satisfaction.

Larger trees are more likely to suffer stress in transplanting and will grow slowly if at all until they recover (if they do). Typically, a 2-inch caliper tree will catch up to a 4-inch one within five years of planting, he said.

Trees available throughout Wauwatosa

The city's master tree plan includes every block of Wauwatosa and is included in the photo gallery above (it's also downloadable from the city website). You can check to see what type of tree would be planted in your block or at your property if you were to need a new tree.

The list of all trees available in the master plan – up to 36 from the four that were available some years ago – is also included in the photo gallery and is downloadable from the city site as well.

Note that if you have power lines over your side of the block, there are a limited number of small-scale trees, such as crabapples, available to you as a replacement in the future.

The city will no longer follow the former practice of planting tall-growing trees under power lines and then pruning them in the middle to grow on either side of the lines. That's now considered bad for the tree, bad for the power line (because it produces weaker trees that might still fall or break in harsh weather) and bad for the economy because it is an unsustainable cost to the Forestry Division.

Alec Rules June 27, 2012 at 05:06 PM
I have a firend that points out to me that the default tree for 90th St. south to the Parkway is Amur Cork. His research shows it is potentially invasive and has even been banned in Massachusetts, where in some areas it has become the dominant species in natural areas! Massachusetts is far away, but now there are reports that it is invasive in Illinois, apparently the Chicago area. He is researching this potential threat to the natural lands in and around Wauwatosa right now. Is designating this cheap weed tree as the default tree a further insult to the good folks on 90th, after all the destruction they have and must continue to endure? Here is a report on the species from the U.S. National Park Service website: http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/pham1.htm
Long time tosan June 27, 2012 at 05:50 PM
Reading the entire USNPS report indicates that it is recommended for street planting.
Alec Rules June 27, 2012 at 10:27 PM
@Long time - From the report link in my comment above: "The best way to control Amur corktree is not to plant it in the first place. An ounce of prevention is worth hundreds of hours of labor and thousands of dollars spent that are needed to remove it once established. Control of corktree requires a long-term strategy with monitoring and follow-up because its seeds remain dormant in the soil for a few to several years and it tends to resprout vigorously after being cut back or incompletely girdled. Sprouts can also produce large amounts of seed. Managed sites should be monitored and retreated as needed for several years to ensure complete control. Female trees should be prioritized for control, to remove the primary seed source...Cleared sites should be replanted with appropriate native species to prevent reestablishment of corktree." You may be referring to the Urban Horticulture Institute mention, which essentially lists trees that can survive urban conditions and are not too obnoxious, but mentions Amur Cork's sidewalk staining and invasive properties. My friend says common sense needs to be used when planting in an area like Wauwatosa which has lots of natural and fringe lands. We already have volunteers pulling invasive garlic mustard and cutting European barberry to little avail. along Menomonee Parkway, right by 90th St..
Jim Price June 27, 2012 at 10:43 PM
There are a number of the trees on the full city list I'm not fond of, and Amur cork is one of them. There is also still a Norway maple cultivar on there, and unless it's sterile, that's invasive, too. And others are just proven difficulties, such as the European lindens, which appear to me 8 times out of 10 to produce unsightly specimens. But I will say that I'm glad they've expanded the list so much, and that finally there are oaks and hackberry on it. They still won't plant pure strain bur oaks, which I think are the best possible choice, but they are offering the swamp white oak/bur oak hybrid (which is a natural hybrid, not some lab experiment). That's probably the most bulletproof tree on the list, and it's native to boot.
TJ Monday June 28, 2012 at 12:04 AM
@Jim Price - I also noticed the Norway Maple cultivars. Norway Maple has been banned in New Hampshire and also in Massachusetts, and considered invasive in many states, including Wisconsin! The University of Michigan reports: "The Norway Maple will continue to invade forests across the United States unless the spread is controlled. Because seedlings can survive in deep shade for decades, any attempt to eliminate the Norway Maple would have to be carefully monitored for over 100 years. " "If nothing is done regarding the invasion of the Norway Maple we predict that in years to come there will be strong homogenizing of the Maples in forests across the United States. In extreme cases, this would lead to much more plant extinctions, and losses of compatible habitats for animals." A major problem with oaks, particularly red oaks, is oak wilt disease, which is in Wisc. but not sure if it is around Milw. Co,. and oaks can be hard to transplant, particularly if not watered in the growing season or two after planting, like the dead ones at the County Grounds! I also admire the Bur Oak, an absolutely stalwart Midwesterner, actually a huge prairie tree. It would be great if it actually spread! .


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