Vinton's storm recovery presses on with tree replanting efforts - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Vinton's storm recovery presses on with tree replanting efforts

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VINTON (KWWL) -

Vinton is continuing its recovery from a massive wind storm that swept through the town on July 11.  Following that storm's 100-plus mile an hour winds, the city estimates anywhere from 50 to 75 percent of its trees were destroyed.  Now the community is working to bring back some of the trees it has lost.

Passing through Vinton, you'll see a lot of tree stumps and severed trees.  It's all that's left after hundreds of trees across town were knocked down during the July wind storm.

"One of the things that drew me to Vinton was the beautiful trees up and down the street.  We have actually a pretty nice canopy.  That canopy's, for the most part, pretty much gone.  And that's what we need to put back," said Greg Walston with Iowa State University Extension of Benton County.

The major tree debris has now been picked up.  The city arborist is working to assess just how many trees still standing are either damaged or dead, so that they can be removed if needed.  Clearing them out and re-planting new trees isn't important just for looks.

"Already from talking to citizens, they're seeing a great impact in their cooling bill because the shade tree that was there that was shading their house for half the day is no longer there," Walston said.

That's why some local power companies are offering incentives for residents to buy and plant new trees.  The community's applying for several grants in hopes of spurring even more re-planting.  In the process, Vinton wants to be mindful of what kinds of trees are put back in the ground by avoiding ash, and replacing the oaks and maple, so that they'll be able to grow well for years to come.

The city knows that because of the extent of tree damage left behind in the storm that it will certainly take a lot of time to bring back the tree-lined landscape that once existed. But it's hoping this fall planting season will be the start of the restoration. 

Thursday, the Vinton city council will have a second reading for an ordinance on what kinds of trees should be re-planted in the public right of way.  Public input is encouraged.

Residents with questions about tree re-planting on their property are encouraged to call Iowa State Extension at (319) 472-4739.

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