Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Tree maintenance an unfunded mandate?

From Metro:

For the past five years, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration has been rapidly planting trees in New York City as part of the mayor’s goal of a million plantings across the five boroughs by 2017.

The Parks Department is the leading agency behind MillionTreesNYC. Just weeks before a freak October snowstorm savaged the city’s canopy, the administration held a ceremony in Harlem celebrating a milestone: It planted its 500,000th tree, and reached that halfway point a year ahead of schedule.

But underneath the publicity is a growing budget gap. The planting program’s budget has been slashed in recent years and the forecasted reduction for 2012, compared with the prior year, is a cut that exceeds 20 percent.

What’s more, after the trees are planted, they must be cared for. And the Parks Department, which does that maintenance, faces an overall 12 percent budget cut this year. City officials declined repeated requests to specify exactly how much will be reduced in tree maintenance, but they did acknowledge it will be affected.

Trimming trees not only includes removing diseased and damaged branches; it also stimulates tree growth. Removing the remnants of trees from the ground is more than just removing stumps. The city needs to get rid of those stumps to clear land for planting new trees.

Budget cuts have included a hiring freeze for just about every city agency. For the Parks Department, less staff means fewer workers to prune trees. And the city only owns two stump removers.


Anonymous said...

and we can't really help: if a private citizen prunes fines of $10,000 can be levelled. While Parks does have a "stewardship" training program, it doesn't even put a dent in the need (and, again, no pruning allowed). It's a shame, 'cause the street trees really are an improvement - even if they're a pain in the tusch.

Anonymous said...

We need more Carbon Dioxide to allow all those trees to breathe!
But CO2 is a greenhouse gas.
Never mind.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know who is responsible for cleaning the grassy area surrounding the trees. They planted one onmy corner it has become a garbage dump for cans & bottle a a porto potty for dogs!

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know who is responsible for cleaning the grassy area surrounding the trees. They planted one onmy corner...

Does it abut your property? Just clean it yourself. Its not that hard a task.

The reason why communities go to shit all the time is because people are only willing to do the bare minimum, and sometimes not even that. Step up and make your own neighborhood a better place.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. Citizens need to take just one hour a week to sweep, pick up some litter, do some weeding, clean up some graffiti, or just do anything you wish to make your block and neighborhood look good. It's good for the soul and in ways a good way to exercise. We cannot rely on the city to do everything because there's 9 million of us but only a few thousand of them. Give it a try!

Anonymous said...

I have seen residents and volunteers cleaning up Queens Blvd. picking up trash and weeds along the way. It was great seeing people pitching in. A lot can be accomplished by a small group of concerned residents.

Anonymous said...

"and we can't really help: if a private citizen prunes fines of $10,000 can be levelled. While Parks does have a "stewardship" training program, it doesn't even put a dent in the need (and, again, no pruning allowed)."

That's not exactly right.

There is a course offered during May and October. It is offered through the Parks Department in conjunction with Trees New York. It's a course to become a Citizen Pruner. It costs $100 and consists of three classroom sessions, a half day of field work, and an exam. Once you complete this course, you are licensed to prune street trees owned by the City of New York.

There are some limits, however, and you have to have your wallet card license with you when you prune.

Also, all pruning must be done from ground level (no standing on ladders, chairs, boxes, climbing trees, hanging from fire escapes, etc.). No power tools may be used. No street trees planted fewer than two years ago may be pruned (it voids the warranty - almost all NYC street trees planted now have color-coded collars indicating when they were planted).

I have taken this course and it is fantastic. Not only does it teach the proper way to prune, it also teaches about street tree care and how to identify most NYC street trees. It really made me appreciate trees a lot more.

If you really care and want to make your neighborhood trees healthier and look better, I highly recommend checking it out:

Upon completion of the course I began pruning trees in my neighborhood in Queens and continue to do so. This is where I live and therefore this is where I prune.

I'm done complaining. I'm actually doing something.

How about you? Seriously.

georgetheatheist said...

Why does it cost $100?

Anonymous said...

Imagine charging you a $100 to be able to VOLUNTEER your time to perform a service to the community, one your taxes are supposed to fund?

That must be one popular class.

Anonymous said...

I havn't seen any tree plantings in Elmhurst recently, yet alone do tree maintenance for trees that are long gone or disappeared never to be replaced?

Anonymous said...

I heard about that tree pruning course. A great idea. I will check it out.

Anonymous said...

There are two different volunteering opportunities being discussed here:

-TreesNY's Citizen Pruner course, a training program costing about $100 which will certify you to prune street trees. In this case you are paying for training and knowledge.

-MillionTreesNYC's Tree Stewardship Program, a FREE volunteering opportunity which provides a 2 hour workshop during which you will learn how to properly water a tree, mulch it, and remove weeds and litter. At the conclusion of the workshop if you sign a pledge agreeing to care for a local tree, you receive FREE tree care tools.

Anonymous said...

I'm fed up with the poor tree maintenance in my FHs neighborhood. I am going to take this course in the spring. Wish I had a stump grinder too!