Preserving Third Street

City officials are working to save the hallmark corridor of oak trees that line Third Street.

The initiative, referred to as the “Third Street Cathedral Oak Longevity program” was recently put into place after the more than 60 “Cathedral” oak trees that line the street reached a stage of maturity that leaves them vulnerable to both disease and pests. The Parks, Recreation and Conservation department has begun taking proactive steps that will protect the trees from harmful insects and fungi.

“Up until a few weeks ago, we had a canopy of 62 beautiful ‘Cathedral’ oaks creating a canopy along West Third Street,” said Mayor Sam Teresi. “Unfortunately, in the vicinity of Lind Funeral Home a few weeks back, one of the trees was so badly diseased that the parks department had to remove a tree. Let me tell you, if Dan Stone and John Williams and the parks department in Jamestown have to remove a tree, it really needs to be removed.”

According to Teresi, the tree was removed primarily because it had reached a point that it was a public safety hazard to motorists, pedestrians and property in the area. The remaining 61 trees have shown growing evidence that there is the threat of a similar fate for them if steps are not taken to protect them.

“The parks department is being proactive about protecting those oak trees,” said Teresi. “They’re an asset to the community. Not only do they add aesthetically to the neighborhood, but they add significant value to the neighborhood as well.”

Under the direction of city arborist Dan Stone, 16 of the oaks are being treated with a fungicide, and 12 of the oaks are being treated with a pesticide. All of the chemicals are being injected into the trees, with no fungicide or pesticide sprays being used in order to limit the impact on the surrounding environment. Teresi said that it is a procedure that has seen good results in other places with similar assets.

The total cost of the program is estimated to be $3,500, with $2,500 of that coming from the community forestry program that the city has set up. The program accepts private contributions to use for forestry-related projects throughout the city.

“Our friends at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation are donating another $1,000 to help plug the funding gap in this process,” said Teresi. “We’re going to be watching the results carefully, and if, in fact, it produces the results that we’re looking for, it’s something that we’ll probably be looking to do in the future again. The tree canopy is something that is unique and special.”