Tree Board’s annual Tree Sale underway

By Mike Barhorst - Contributing columnist

Sidney’s Tree Board recently announced their third annual tree sale, and have once again chosen some great varieties of trees for public purchase. This year’s selections include Ohio’s state tree, the Ohio buckeye, the Kentucky coffeetree, dogwood, blackgum, and Shelby County’s Official Bicentennial Tree, the white oak.

The white oak will grow to a mature height of 80 to 100 feet. Its large leaves are dark green in the summer months, and turn reddish-brown in the fall. It prefers either partial or full sunlight and grows best in moist soils. The tree(s) will come 4 to 6 feet in height, and will cost $31 each.

Those who order the white oak can also order an embossed plate designating the tree as an official bicentennial tree. A metal stake that can be driven into the ground near the tree to which the metal plate can be attached is part of the $50 up charge.

The white oak’s tough wood has made it a favorite throughout history for construction purposes. The beams in many older buildings are white oak, and it was a favorite material for flooring. Interestingly, the USS Constitution was constructed of white oak.

The blackgum will grow to a mature height of 30 to 50 feet. It too, has dark green leaves in the summer that turn shades of red, yellow, orange and purple in the fall. The blackgum prefers well-drained soil and grows best in partial or full sunlight. The tree(s) will arrive from the nursery 3 to 4 feet in height, and will cost $31.

The dogwood will grow to a mature height of 20 to 25 feet. It is well known for its showy flowers in the spring, and its leaves turn red-purple in the fall. It prefers partial shade and dry soil. The trees will come from the nursery 2 to 3 feet high, and will cost $31 each.

The Kentucky coffeetree will grow to a mature height of 60 to 75 feet. Picturesque in summer and winter, the Kentucky coffeetree has coarse ascending branches that often form a narrow crown. Oval leaves emerge late in the spring, changing from pinkish-tinged to a dark, almost blue-green color.

The Kentucky coffeetree tolerates most conditions, and is drought and pollution resistant. It tolerates most any soil but needs full sunlight. The tree will produce seedpods that can be as long as ten inches. The trees will come from the nursery 4 to 5 feet in height, and will cost $30 each.

The Ohio buckeye will grow to a mature height of 60 to 80 feet. It is one of the trees first to leaf out in the spring and is known for its early spring flowers, a favorite of hummingbirds. They are probably best known for the seeds that have inspired the name of this unique family of trees as they have the appearance of a deer’s eye. Although poisonous if ingested, the seeds are popularly believed to bring good luck. The buckeye tree prefers moist soils.

The trees will come from the nursery 5 to 6 feet in height, and will cost $33. Unfortunately this growing season, the nursery has a limited supply of the Ohio buckeye tree.

Order forms are available online, and are due no later than Sept. 27, 2019. Payment must be made at the time the trees are ordered.

The trees will be delivered from the nursery in easy to handle five-gallon containers. They will be available for pickup on Saturday, Oct. 26 from 9 a.m. until noon at the Sidney Service Center at 415 S. Vandemark Road. The trees should only be planted on your property, not along the street in the tree lawn.

I want to take this opportunity to encourage residents to purchase trees and plant them. The city has lost thousands of trees in the past decade as a result of the emerald ash borer. Not only has the emerald ash borer devastated Sidney’s ash trees, it has killed tens of millions of ash trees across the eastern United States. It is expected that before the devastation is over, it will kill most of the 8,700,000,000 ash trees in North America

It is easy to see the devastating impact the emerald ash borer has had on the environment. Replenishing the urban forest is one way that each of us can contribute in a small way to helping reverse the impact of the emerald ash borer.

Trees provide oxygen improving air quality. They provide climate amelioration, help conserve water, preserve soil by reducing runoff, and support wildlife. During the process of photosynthesis, trees take in carbon dioxide and produce the oxygen we breathe.

In fact, on average, one tree produces near 260 pounds of oxygen each year. Two mature trees can provide enough oxygen for a family of four. An acre of mature trees can produce enough oxygen for 18 people to breathe for a year although it should be remembered that not all trees produce the same amount of oxygen in the same amount of time.

In addition, the sale will provide every household the opportunity to economically plant a bicentennial tree — joining in celebrating Shelby County’s 200th birthday.

I want to commend Sidney’s Tree Board for again sponsoring a tree sale. Under the able chairmanship of Ann Asher , the board includes Vice-chair Michael Jannides, Ross Moore III, Ann Sharp and Rick Steenrod. Their volunteer efforts have significantly bolstered Sidney’s urban forest.

While the selections for 2020 have not yet been made, one thing is certain. The selections will include the red oak. The red oak has been selected by the Sidney-Shelby County Bicentennial Committee as the official Sidney Bicentennial Tree.

The trees are grown by Woody Nursery in Indiana. They are Grade A trees. However, neither the city nor the nursery is guaranteeing the trees since once they leave our care, we have no way of knowing the care the person receiving the tree is providing them.

I did purchase two trees in 2017, and I am happy to report that both the redbud and the tulip poplar are doing well. Perhaps most important , they have required little attention on my part.

Order forms are available online at, or can be picked up at the reception desk at City Hall, the Service Center, Shelby Public Transit, the Senior Center, The Spot, and Amos Memorial Public Library. The deadline for ordering trees is Sept. 27.

By Mike Barhorst

Contributing columnist

The writer is the mayor of Sidney.

The writer is the mayor of Sidney.