Harrison Avenue Project

The Harrison Avenue Project is an ongoing tree replacement project that started in the early summer of 2023. Part of this project was made possible with funding from the Montana DNRC Program Development Grant. By time of completion, which is expected to be 2-3 years (depending on annual funding), we hope to have Harrison Avenue filled with new beautiful trees that will thrive in the street tree setting. In addition, garbage cans and possibly benches will be added in areas where replacement trees are not suitable due to visibility issues that would arise later on.

The first order of business in getting this project started in the right direction was widening the concrete tree cutouts. Prior to this project, tree cutouts were about 3 ft x 3 ft, which is below the recommended minimum of 4 ft x 4 ft. To ensure each tree has plenty of room to thrive and grow without causing damage to surrounding sidewalks, we have widened the tree cutouts to 10 ft x 4 ft. In the process of widening cutouts, we also removed the trees. We discovered that these trees were planted within wire baskets which either had already killed the trees or would in the near future due to girdling roots. Those that could be saved and given a second chance at life were transplanted to area parks after removing the wire basket and pruning some roots.

The next order of business was to amend the poor soil that the previous trees had grown in. This soil was full of rocks and pieces of decomposed granite, which is not an ideal living condition for any tree. To give the new trees a better chance at success, we removed 2 yards worth of the poor soil from each hole. We then filled in the holes with good topsoil mixed with a little compost. Once each hole was filled, the soil was watered down in order to get it to settle before planting.

Once the soil had settled, two Northwood Red Maples (Acer rubrum 'Northwood') and the rest Brandon Elms (Ulmus americana 'Brandon') were planted in each cutout. Shortly after planting, each tree was staked to provide stability and strength against external factors like wind as the tree settles and its roots begin to establish. Once the trees have done so, stakes will be removed. Soon after planting the trees, the irrigation system was updated. In previous years, the irrigation hasn't operated efficiently. We have since then corrected that issue and new drip lines have been put in place for each tree. For additional water, these new trees have been added to a priority watering list for the next 3 years which will allow the trees to get plenty of water to ensure they establish healthy roots, which will lead to a better chance at surviving long term.

As the project progresses, more and more trees will line the sides of Harrison Avenue, one block at a time. We hope to see this change within the next 2-3 years, however depending on how much funding the project gets each year, this timeline could be subject to change. In addition to more trees, more garbage cans and possibly benches will be placed along the sidewalks. This will hopefully help keep Harrison Avenue cleaner than in previous years and prevent trash from accumulating in tree cutouts. These new additions will replace the areas that once had potentilla shrubs. Please note that garbage cans or benches will only replace the shrub cutouts that couldn't be transformed into tree cutouts due to visibility concerns that would arise in the future.

Updates on the project will be posted here as well as on the Butte-Silver Bow Arborist social media pages listed below:

BSB Arborist Facebook Page

BSB Arborist Instagram Page