Friday, August 27, 2010

Blast off: Landscaping complete!

The Newington Public School Landscaping project is now complete! In order to reduce the costs, we did not require the contractors to be responsible for watering once the work was complete, so I spent the entire day setting up two sprinkler systems to water hydro seeded areas twice per day in six different zones, as well as most of the shrubs. The trees themselves will be watered twice per week by means of tree gators which are bags filled with water that drain out over the course of the day.

Some of the trees, the elms in particular, will likely lose their leaves in the next week. This is shock due to being relocated, made worse by the drought we have been experiencing. However, I am informed by the contractor, LJH, and our landscape designer, Woodburn & Company, that this is ok and the trees will bounce right back in the spring.

There was a change to the project to raise up the flowering pear tree by the side entrance. It turned out to be a low spot and the rains earlier in the week flooded the area and caused the tree to pitch over. By raising it and placing stones, the area should be greatly improved. It may be advisable to improve the drainage so that runoff does not collect there. Fortunately, flowering pair is relatively salt tolerant.

I'm very pleased with how things have turned out. I'm sorry I don't have pictures of the completed project but I hope to get some posted soon. Also, I'd like to thank the many people that helped along the way, and in particular: Jane Hislop for her early work organizing this and gathering information on trees, contractors etc.; Gail Klanchesser for her work helping me interface with the school and school supporters; all of the Conservation Commission for reviewing the various designs, meeting at odd times, reviewing proposals, etc.; the Planning Board for their work approving nearly half of the funding ($10,000); the Selectmen & Bea Marconi for their patience and support on the project; Tom Morgan for his continuing support and guidance and various members and supporters of the School (David Mueller, Krista Bellmare, Dennis Mayo, Linda Loewy & Jane Kendall). Also a number of you donated materials such as hoses and sprinklers including the Langdon Library, Gail Klanchesser, the Town (Rick), Gail Pare, the School District.

It's late and I have a horrible feeling I have left some people out. But congratulations to all of you! The total project will cost about $25,000 but without your help it would have been much more. I hope the project will benefit the Town when all of us our gone and our children come back to visit the school and wonder who planted all those trees many years ago.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Landscaping Progress!

These pictures show the project status as of Thursday evening. I ran a traditional sprinkler at one end and it appears it covers only about 1/6 (or less) of the area that will need watering.

The school district has bought 300 feet of hose, and it looks like we will need all of it and then some! We also have to water the trees in the front (filling gators 2x per week) and the side entrance. I am looking into buying a 4 way timer and splitter that may take care of watering the hydro seeded area.

This was the view looking down the driveway. The trees along the entrance are red maples, horse chesnut and valley forge american elm.

The girls were very excited, but perhaps more by their new (used) bicycles than by the trees.

These were the trees remaining to be planted. Western red cedar (on the right) and white spruce (on the left). Some others are shown that I won't try to identify but there may be a sugar maple or flowering pear.

Looking forward to seeing what it looks like at the end of the day.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Newington Public School Landscaping

The Landscaping of the Newington Public School has begun. The picture to the left shows the shrubs waiting in the shade to be planted. The truck belongs to Luke Hydock of LJH Lanscaping, the landscape contractor from Rochester New Hampshire that was awarded the bid by the Town. The Conservation Commission received a total of 8 bids ranging from 18k to 35k for the project.

The Commission compared the lowest three and recommended LJH's proposal based on a combination of LJH's low price, and its excellent experience and performance on other projects. They've done a great job so far.

This photo shows part of the area behind the school where trees and shrubs are to be planted. There will be a row of evergreens (spruces and others) high up with shrubs and plants (e.g. Lily of the Valley) at the lower levels. The trees were selected for a number of aesthetic (and educational) characteristics, but will not grow as high as the blue spruce that blew over in March.

These are the trees. A sugar maple will be planted outside the kindergarden. Red maples and others will be planted along the driveway entrance that can tolerate wet conditions. Several other species are included on the landscape plan.

Speaking of wet conditions. The photo on the left shows one of the holes in which the trees will be planted after soil improvements are made. You can see an impenetrable clay layer that is present in the lower areas that is filling with ground water. All of the tree roots will need to establish themselves in the upper layers where there is oxygen and (better) drainage. The wet conditions eliminated a lot of other trees from consideration because they would not survive in these soil conditions.