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Illinois hunting and fishing

Sweet gum trees, often called “gumball” trees, are a nuisance because each one annually drops hundreds of round, prickly seed capsules that can be easy to slip on when walking and are difficult to clean up. SJ-R file

City of Springfield has plan to get rid of sweet gum trees

November 20, 2012 at 06:42 AM

The State Journal-Register

Want to get rid of that pesky sweet gum tree?

Through a pilot program announced Monday, the city of Springfield will remove a sweet gum tree on public right-of-way if the property owner is willing to pay $250, which includes the cost of a replacement tree.

The city is taking requests through Dec. 14.

Mark Mahoney, the city’s public works director, estimated that about 100 trees would be removed through the initiative.

Requests won’t be taken through a first-come, first-served basis. Instead, trees considered nuisances or safety hazards — near sewer inlets, if they are uprooting sidewalks, or obstructing streetlights – will be given priority.

Only one tree per resident will be eligible for removal.

Sweet gum trees, often called “gumball” trees, are a nuisance because each one annually drops hundreds of round, prickly seed capsules that can be easy to slip on when walking and are difficult to clean up.

Ward 8 Ald. Kris Theilen said removing the trees will help reduce sewer clogs, lessen the need for sidewalk and street repair and cut down on personal injuries from people stepping on them and injuring themselves.

Public Works crews will remove the entire tree, stump and will backfill the hole. A replacement tree, chosen by the city’s arborist, will be planted in a different location.

Requests for removal and replacement of sweet gum trees can be made by calling the Office of Public Works at 789-2255 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Deana Stroisch can be reached at 788-1533. Follow her at twitter.com/DeanaSJR.

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