Lauryn’s Watering in Watertown: A Key Role in a Late Summer Bur Oak Transplanting

photos courtesy Mike DeMarco

Coming out of the end of my sophomore year at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, I was hoping for an internship for the summer, or at least a job. Unfortunately, both of the internships I had lined up fell through due to COVID-19. Luckily, however, I came across the opportunity to be the urban forestry assistant for the City of Watertown.

My job this summer was to water and prune the young trees and also water the older ash trees that had been given root treatments for emerald ash borer. My position was a hybrid, housed between the Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) and the Department of Public Works (DPW), which was really unique and made my summer all that more interesting. For instance, I realized how important the collaboration between the two was when we had to do an emergency tree transplanting in a construction site in the City.

The DPW was in the process of putting in a new sidewalk that was very close to an existing bur oak tree (Quercus macrocarpa). The DPW could have just taken the tree out or pretended it wasn’t there and severely damaged its root system, but instead they called the OPCD; they wanted to do a tree relocation and put the bur oak in place of a tree that had died about 15 feet away.

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HWS Junior Lauryn Tabolt’s Summer with Watertown’s Trees 🌳

Meet Lauryn Tabolt, a Hobart & William Smith junior who worked in the Watertown Planning Department this summer on tree care with Planning & Community Development Director Mike Lumbis and Planner (and Council Board Member) Mike DeMarco, who wrote this about Lauryn’s vital work during a hot, dry summer:

“Lauryn has been working hard to protect young trees from succumbing to drought stress by watering them on weekly and rotational cycles. Lauryn cared for and supported over 300 young trees planted over the past few years as well as individual larger trees as needed. She played a key role in the City’s 2020 Ash Tree Treatment Project by watering all 58 recently treated ash trees which assisted uptake of chemical pesticide throughout the tree … even during a drought!

An emergency late season tree transplant provided the opportunity for Lauryn to take part in the transplanting procedure as well as having own her spot on the construction site to water daily to ensure the survival of “Oakey” (named by Lauryn), the transplanted bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa).”

You can see a video series of Lauryn in her words on the NYSUFC YouTube Channel and on our Instagram page. 🌳