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News Story
Updated: 04/20/2017 08:30:03AM

Palm trees to remain in parkway median

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JAY MEISEL/STAFF The roots of palm trees along Sebring Parkway have been damaging the pavement. The city of Sebring is trying to find solutions.

By JAY MEISEL

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SEBRING — When Sebring officials discovered recently that palm tree roots were damaging pavement on Sebring Parkway, they contemplated having the trees removed.

But on Tuesday night, the Sebring City Council accepted a recommendation from the city’s Tree Board that will allow the palm trees to remain.

“The palm trees are so pretty we did not want that to happen,” said Bobby Heffner, a member of the board and also owner of Robbins Nursery.

The trees were planted in the median on Sebring Parkway around 10 years ago. City employees found out recently that some of the road on both sides of the median was cracking because of the expanding roots from the palm trees.

City officials questioned whether finding a solution that would keep the trees was good because of increasing problems in Florida with diseases affecting the palms.

However, Heffner said, that the trees on the median are not infected. As part of the solution, the city will have the trees inoculated.

At very least, that should save the trees for at least a number of years, Sebring City Administrator Scott Noethlich said.

The Tree Board also recommended cutting trenches in the median on both sides of the median. Heffner said that would separate the expanded roots from the tree, which would cause those roots to die.

The trenches would be between 2 and 3 feet deep

Every five to 10 years, the city would have to deal with the expanding root system, he said.

As to why the palm roots are causing a problem remains in question.

“Typically palms are not a problem,” Heffner said. It is possible there’s some nutrient is the road material that is attracting the palm tree roots, he said.

The City Council also agreed to renew for 14 years the lease the Highlands Arts League has with the city regarding its museum. The old lease, which was for 34 years, expires in June.

However, council members did not want to renew the lease for that long of a period of time.


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