MARYLAND

Montgomery County inspector general: Hundreds of trees planted improperly

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A new report by the Montgomery County inspector general says hundreds of trees were improperly planted by a contractor in 2009-2012. It also warns the trees could fall in severe weather.

The Kenwood community of Chevy Chase is a neighborhood proud of its homes, beautiful gardens and precious cherry trees that line the streets. But some of the youngest trees in this neighborhood are in trouble.

Over the past three years the county commissioned a tree company to plant hundreds of young trees along county-owned streets and highways to replace those that had died or fallen. Many of those trees were planted in Kenwood.

"I wouldn't pay a tree expert to come in and say it's alive, because it looks alive to me, but I haven't gone under the roots," says Bill Outman, looking at a tree outside his home.

But it appears there are problems with that tree, according to tree expert Dave Niday.

And according to the inspector general's investigation, hundreds of the young trees the contractor planted were diseased damaged or planted incorrectly.

"I'm sure it wasn't done maliciously, just in a hurry from inexperienced people," says Ted Beverly, a county resident.

Montgomery county's tree replacement program spends hundreds of thousands of dollars per year planting new trees.

There is concern that if left in the ground, when they grow they could come down easily in a storm.

"I would hate for a tree to fall down at some point especially on our house, so yes it is disappointing," says Leslie Adelman, a resident.

But county officials say all the trees are small and problems with those affected are minor.

A county spokesperson said much of the work planting the trees and the trees themselves are under warranty and the county will be able to correct the problems at little or no cost to taxpayers.

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