Bacteria threatens community garden in Sunbury

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SUNBURY, NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) A couple in Sunbury is asking the community for a little bit of help when it comes to saving the city’s 100-year-old garden.
The public garden faces financial trouble, and without help it could deteriorate quickly.

Keithen’s Bluebird Garden has been a staple in the community for a century, but now it has some diseased trees that need replacing and it’s becoming a costly project.

The beautiful landscape is where people have been coming for years to create everlasting memories.

“On an annual basis, all the neighboring high schools they would come here with all the prom kids for their pictures every year. There’s about 5 different high schools in the area, on prom day for Shikellamy for instance Sunbury, it’s wall to wall people here. We have a gazebo where they can get married there or sit in the garden,” Paul Murray, a worker at Keithen’s Bluebird Garden tells us.

That’s why Paul Murray and his wife Layne, who take of the garden, are making sure it stays well kept for years to come. But there’s one problem… bacterial leaf scorch. It’s a disease that gets on a leaf that carries from one tree to another.

“The maintenance of the trees because of the bacterial leaf scorch it becomes very expensive to maintain the big oak trees and without the big oak trees providing the canopy for the garden, the flowers would cook up real quick and they would destroy the other plants. We’re in a position as to where the expense to maintain the oak trees is more than our budget allows,” Paul explained.

Replacing an oak tree would cost roughly $5,000 in order to bring in a crane to lift it out so it doesn’t damage the other plants. It’s also an additional $400 for every tree they treat with the antibiotics to stop the disease from spreading.

Paul tells us any donation from the community would help. “So that their kids and grand kids can come and have pictures as well,” he said.

Murray says essentially the garden would truly suffer if they’re not able to get enough money to remove or maintain those oak trees. The goal is to have the tree taken down by the fall or next spring, so it doesn’t contaminate the other trees.

Donations can be made at the city treasurer’s office or by calling 570-286-4588. Also, you can make a donation by sending a check to the City of Sunbury.

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