Swarthmore Tree Committee
The Swarthmore Tree Committee is composed of seven members (link to committee page) appointed by Swarthmore Borough Council to maintain and improve the canopy of shade trees in Swarthmore. Members serve 3 year terms. The committee, officially formed in April 1932, is one of the longest continuously operating Borough committee.
Tree committee activities include:
Semi-annual street tree sale: held in spring and fall. Several species options available for purchase and planting at a discounted rate. Order forms available near sales time on the Borough home page.
Street Tree removal and replacement program: Committee evaluates dead, dying, or diseased trees and recommends options. If removal is recommended, the homeowner cost shares removal and replacement with the Borough.
Tree Inventory: The Committee keeps an inventory of any rare, unusual or Valuable trees in town.
Distinguished Trees of Swarthmore: The Committee takes nominations for distinguished trees in categories such as: Size, Rarity and Age, Winners are announced at the 4th of July Parade and are included in the Tree Inventory.
Trees in Parks: The Tree Committee works with the Environmental Advisory Committee to evaluate, maintain and plant trees in Swarthmore's parks.
History of Street Trees and the Tree Committee
Residents and visitors alike often speak of Swarthmore as a special, even magical oasis containing distinctive architecture within close-knit neighborhoods near a beautiful college campus all shrouded in a green veil. Swarthmore’s streets and properties are filled with trees, shrubs, and plantings of all ages and species that line its sidewalks, frame its views, soften its edges, and provide a cooling refuge in the heat of summer. Many of the trees are mature - some perhaps over one hundred years old - which enhances the Borough’s stately feeling. But Swarthmore’s sylvan character is no accident, especially along its public streets. Read Full History (link to complete history)
Street Tree Survey to Begin
By David Page
After several unsuccessful attempts at starting, including a delay caused by COVID-19-related restrictions, the Swarthmore Street Tree Survey is about to get under way. Sophia Rodbell, project manager for Davey Resource Group, has given the borough and Tree Committee a start date of Monday, May 11. A small team of certified arborists will travel throughout town, pinpointing the exact location of each street tree, along with the species, size, and general condition of approximately 4,000 trees. The physical survey should take about two weeks.
The data collected will be entered into a software program, which the borough and the Tree Committee will continue to update and use to manage Swarthmore’s living canopy. The information will help locate sites where new trees are needed, recognize trees in danger from invasive predators such as the emerald ash borer, pinpoint trees in need of early pruning, and reveal species distribution.
Our tree canopy contributes environmental and aesthetic benefits to the town. It augments Swarthmore’s charm and livability, and increases property values. This survey will help maintain the health of the tree canopy for future Swarthmoreans.
Community members can view the survey data online at swarthmorepa.treekeepersoftware.com. And if you see a couple of strangers on your street carefully measuring and inspecting the trees, say hello!
David Page is chair of the Swarthmore Tree Committee.