For nearly 100 years, the Forest City Tree Protection Co operated on South Green Rd in South Euclid on the grounds of what is now the new South Euclid – Lyndhurst Branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library. Although almost all evidence of their former presence is gone, a towering American elm tree remains thanks to the efforts of the tree care firm and its three generations of the Lanphear family ownership. And thanks to the its current owner and president, Lauren Lanphear, the elm will be cared for and protected for years to come.
Last year, when construction of the new library was at its earliest stages, the magnificent tree was in need of some critically needed care and attention. Roots of the tree were damaged during the demolition of buildings on the site, and during the excavation and grading of the land for the library and parking lot. Part of that work involved removal of four to five feet of soil from around the tree. The “stressed” root system weakened the tree, which led to nutrient starved branches, and wilting and off-color leaves.
A tree preservation plan was developed by Lanphear to protect and rejuvenate the root system, and protect the tree from the fungi that causes the lethal Dutch elm disease. Natural root bio-stimulants were applied to the base of the tree to restore the biological life in the soil. A growth regulator was administered to redirect energy toward root development and stress tolerance. A direct sap stream injection – the equivalent of an I.V. for trees – was also part of the treatment. The injection will continue to protect the tree from the Dutch elm disease for the next two years, until it will be due for re-treatment. Finally, last fall it was provided a soil injection application of slow-release fertilizer.
All these services were provided free of charge. “This is our gift to the library and community,” says Lanphear. “We want this tree to be around for another 100 years.”
A commanding presence at the new library, “This is a very unique elm,” Lanphear says. “You won’t find many of them of this size anymore. Sadly, most have succumbed to Dutch elm disease.”
Lanphear, a past president of the International Society of Arboriculture, has a very personal connection to the elm. The tree was planted around 1916 by his grandfather and founder of the family tree care business, William P. Lanphear, Jr., when he moved the company from Cleveland to the site on South Green Road. The tree became a fixture at the site, which contained two family homes and three business buildings. The majestic elm was cared for by Forest City Tree Protection for nearly 100 years, until the land was sold to the library system in September of 2012. The company relocated to Beta Drive in Mayfield Village.
“In part, we are providing tree preservation services for sentimental reasons,” admits Lauren Lanphear, a Certified Arborist. “This historic tree has been around for longer than I have been alive. We have grown up around each other.”
In preparation for the Grand Opening, Forest City Tree Protection came out on Thursday October 15 to apply this year’s fall fertilization.
Revitalizing and maintaining trees are hallmarks of the Forest City Tree Protection Co. The company is internationally recognized for its expertise in providing year-round tree care services. Additionally, Lanphear was recognized by his alma mater, Hiram College with its 2015 J. J. Turner Society Award, presented each year to an alumnus who has made a significant contribution to the field of biology and for their work in the life sciences both nationally and internationally.