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Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012 07:58 pm


Ah, the sweetgum tree. Such a nice name, evoking visions of sugarplums and chocolate chips falling from cotton-candy clouds before the rainbow arrives.

The truth, as we all know, is much different. Those spiky balls that fall from sweetgum trees throughout Springfield clog storm sewers while roots tear through sidewalks, and they taste terrible to boot. The only things worse than sweetgum trees are, well, no trees at all. Fortunately, there are better trees out there, and that’s where the Springfield Public Works Department comes in.

The city is now accepting applications from residents willing to pay $250 apiece to have sweetgum trees removed from public rights-of-way adjacent to their property. After removing trees and stumps, city crews will backfill holes to make it look like trees had never existed. The city will also replace sweetgum trees with nicer species at places where they won’t block streetlights or threaten sewers or sidewalks.

Removal will be done as time allows, with a limit of one tree per resident. Applications will be prioritized based on which trees pose the worst problems. Interested parties have until Dec. 14 to contact the public works department at 789-2255.