The sounds of a big crunching crash and the buzz of a chainsaw in Frontier Park West just after sunrise Tuesday morning were the work of Jim Losey, owner of B&B Tree and Stump Removal, Hays.
Hired by the city of Hays, Losey is the one-man owner-operator of B&B, who undertakes the job of removing big trees on city property that are either dead or dying, said Hays Parks Director Jeff Boyle.
“This is just one of our tree removal events,” said Boyle. “The trees being removed are much larger than our department has the equipment to take down.”
While the work is always ongoing, in recent days Losey and his big bucket truck completed work in Frontier Park. One downed tree was a Siberian elm that was hollowed out and rotted, Boyle said, as well as some other trees in the circle parking and playground areas.
“We can’t have dangerous trees in our park area because we don’t want those coming down and hurting someone,” Boyle said. “We can’t wait for them to fall on someone.”
By Wednesday Losey had moved his truck to Lincoln Draw and Skyline Draw in northwest Hays.
“One of the trees in Lincoln Draw has a giant split down it,” Boyle said, noting a wind storm could probably knock the tree in half, putting one half in the road and the other in the draw.
Also, ongoing all year long is tree planting to replace the trees that are removed.
“Our philosophy is that for every tree that comes down we have to plant two. We believe we’re doing the right thing so that Hays always has a nice tree canopy,” Boyle said. “We will be going back in and doing some planting.”
New trees were planted into east and west Frontier Park in mid-November.
Many of the newly planted trees come from a city-owned tree farm at the intersection of Commerce Parkway and Interstate 70. The five-acre lot generally has 400 or more trees of all different varieties, Boyle said.
“We have the native trees, hackberry, bur oak, redbud, and some American elm cultivars and Kentucky coffeetrees,” he said.
Small 18-inch trees are planted on drip lines and allowed to grow. Once they are big enough, park employees go in with a tree spade and dig each one up with a big clump of dirt and replant it to a new home, Boyle explained.
“We’re done with tree spadework in the park,” he said. “We’ll put in some container-grown trees at various locations around town in the spring.”
The city also plants cottonwoods into Frontier Park, not far from the banks of Big Creek.
“We’re lucky that we have a landowner on the edge of Hays who has cottonwoods in a draw and allows us to spade them,” Boyle said. “Cottonwoods like darker soils with lots of water.”