Push for 300 elms for town’s 300th continues

HAMPTON FALLS — Community members are embracing the idea of bringing more American elm trees back to Hampton Falls. The trees grew in abundance in town years ago before they succumbed to Dutch Elm Disease over a period of many decades.

Half a dozen of the majestic shade trees were planted in Hampton Falls in 2007, and now more than 100 trees are slated to be available for planting by spring of 2020.

Organizers of the campaign to restore this natural beauty in Hampton Falls, Larry Smith and Judy Wilson, are working to get as many as 300 elms gracing the town’s roadways in honor of the town’s 300th anniversary.

The order of 100 disease-resistant trees from the Elm Research Institute in Keene reduces the price of each tree to $40. The discounted order was made possible due to individual property owners becoming involved in the project, as well as the purchase of 25 trees by Heronfield Academy on Exeter Road, and 23 trees by Avesta Housing (Meadows at Grapevine Run) on Brown Road.

The deadline for ordering more trees is June 2017. Order forms can be found on the town of Hampton Falls website, at Town Hall, or at the library. Volunteers will be available to help with planting, after which the trees will require some fertilizing and watering for the first year by the homeowner.

Further information can be obtained by contacting Larry Smith at lmsmith20@comcast.net, or 475-2429.

According to the Elm Research Institute, American elms have added to the landscape of the country since Colonial times, and their great stature in cities such as Boston provided a meeting place for the “Sons of Liberty” before the American Revolution. The American elm was recognized for encompassing the spirit and determination of the founders of this nation.

Dutch Elm Disease broke out in the years following World War II, and by the 1960s a comeback of the stately shade tree seemed unlikely. Now, however, the non-profit Elm Research Institute has developed a disease-resistant tree that comes with a written warranty. The institute has experienced a successful 20-year track record with the elms proving to be 99 percent resistant to Dutch Elm Disease, making it possible for them to attain a lifespan of 200 to 300 years.

Nancy Rineman

Seacoastonline