Sunday, November 11, 2012

City needs to inspect and care for trees

From the Queens Chronicle:

Dear Editor:

Hurricanes Sandy and Irene have proven that New York City has underestimated the destruction of unmaintained trees in our city. Sandy has caused millions of dollars in damage, with homes destroyed and 41 deaths, many caused by fallen trees.

Operators with 311 have been instructed not to take any calls pertaining to damaged or dead trees. They will not take any tree reports.

A large part of the damage to our homes, streets and power lines was due to city trees that have not been pruned, removed or maintained for many, many years due to lack of funds for this purpose. Yet the mayor’s goal for the city has been to plant one million new trees. The priority should be maintaining existing trees, not planting new ones.

Trees fall, basements flood, utility lines fall, telephone lines and power lines are without service for days even weeks — yet the Parks commissioner does not accept phone calls or 311 reports about trees.

The mayor has to recognize that the tree problem is at a dangerous level in the boroughs. There are hundreds of trees in need of pruning or removal. They cause death when they fall on people. Our priorities should be to save lives and homes and prevent power failures.

The Parks Department budget must be realistic so it can do its job and prevent future damage similar to the damage caused by Irene and Sandy.

Nick Pennachio

The writer is a member of Community Board 4.

From the Daily News:

The majestic trees of Queens that help make it the city’s leafiest borough toppled in record numbers after the one-two punch of Hurricane Sandy and this week’s nor’easter.

About half of the 20,000-plus calls to the city’s 311 line for downed trees and branches as well as hanging limbs came from Queens after the super-storm.
And roughly 2,000 of the 3,000 requests received after the nor’easter were also traced to Queens.

Forestry crews from the city Parks Department — along with teams of outside contractors — have been working feverishly to clear blocked streets and remove trees from homes and cars.

Photo from A Walk in the Park.


Anonymous said...

This is exactly what I talked about in yesterday's post about the resident getting a violation for a downed street tree.

With proper care and pruning from the city, many of these trees would have sustained minor damage or no damage at all - and wouldn't have damaged so many houses in the process. However, Bloomberg - aided and abetted by the City Council - has so defunded the street tree pruning budget that it's no wonder this has happened.

Add to this his "legacy" of planting tens of thousands of trees around the city with no additional funding for pruning and maintenance and you've got another set up for a disaster down the road.

Paul Graziano

Anonymous said...

Thank you Nick. We are in agreement .

approximately two years ago a tornado/wind storm came through S.I.,Brooklyn and Queens. Many trees were uprooted which crushed houses and cars. i am not sure if there were any deaths.

but ,for the first time in forty years,i became afraid that the two 120' trees in front of our homes in Bayside, would kill someone eventually.

now is the time for action by Parks and Recreation, forestry division .Remove this danger.

Anonymous said...

I noticed a number of old downed trees with hollow trunks.
Does Parks Forestry inspect trees that have barely a skeletal shell holding them up?

Anonymous said...

You expect services for your tax money in ny?
Hahhhahhaahhhhaha, that really is funny.
Has it been made clear to you yet? Your supposed to ask no questions and do as your told, and remmember, no 20questions oz sodas.

Anonymous said...

I have been saying this for many many years now about the trees -- I have called the city numerous times and they could care less and if they do come all they do is cut down a branch that is all --

Anonymous said...


When the tree groups meet I always ask them what they are doing about the older trees that are being strangled by their small tree pits.

Always get a shrug.

This exercise of planting trees was not to give us shade but to have them clean the air so that the EPA air quality can improve .... for more development.

So folks, the points you are raising here is, and was, never on the radar.

Yet another example of poor leadership. Not a single pol as far as I know raised - or even thought of - these issues.

No surprise. The chief of staff of one proudly once told someone I know that she never set foot in Central Park.

willie harrison said...

All that's been said is true. Calls to 311 about obviously dying trees do not get a report written. No one wants to know. But at the same time, homeowners must aim to take some care of the trees by their homes. Water them {I know---impossible, really, with exhorbitant water rates]; don't mound around the base with a foot of soil for a raised flower bed--this causes the trunk to rot; be careful of the trunk when parking; and do not cement the tree-pit over!!Doing so robs the tree of an important source of water.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget all the damage trees cause to home sewer lines as well.

Jerry Rotondi said...

Planting 1 million new trees provide good PR and photo ops for our public relations conscious mayor.

Pruning the existing old ones do not, and therein lies the corruption of his administration.

If Bloomberg really gave a damn about Queens, there would be adequate money to maintain our curb trees.

Those funds have been sidetracked elsewhere.

The Flushing Phantom said...

In Queens developers get attended to not trees.

Plant some "money trees" for pols to pick campaign $$$$$$ from, and you'd see some careful pruning!

Our own borough president, Helen Marshall, stood by as mature cherry trees behind borough hall were callously cut down.

They were supposed to have been diseased.

The only disease that's epidemic in our borough--is the rampant corruption which still goes unchecked since the days of its king-- Donald Manes.

Anonymous said...

This is a wake up call - goes to show how exposed we are to rotting trees that blow over in strong winds. The city cannot put it's head in the sand - trim brances, remove trees whose roots are pulling up sidewalks or overgrown. We don't need another death or injury!

Anonymous said...

Anon No. 2: Who says that the trees are in danger of collapsing? If they're healthy and not in danger of collapsing, why cut them down?

Anonymous said...

50-80 MPH winds uproot the 60' to 120' trees and crush houses and kill owners and families that are 20 'away

read "a walk in the park".the park trees in NYC were leveled,as well as at the
community's homes.

Joe in Richmond Hill said...

More than a month ago I made many calls to 311 about many of the trees in my neiborhood that had obvious dead brances or were completely dead. I got complaint numbers. Most of the reports said condition not found. When we had a wind storm the top half of the tree I reported on 116 st. and 89 ave came crashing down onto the steps of a building. Luckily it did not hit anyone. It was obviously rotten. The wood fell apart when touched. The remainder of the tree, about 2 stories high, had a hole in the bottom of the trunk and was also rotten. It came down during Sandy. It broke at the bottom. It did not uproot. Several other trees I reported had limbs fall off.

Anonymous said...

Anon No. 14:

Again I ask. Who says those trees are in danger of collapsing? Why kill two (probably) healthy trees to allay your fears without proof?

Queens Crapper said...

If you are calling 311 and reporting trees that you think are dangerous, and they are not being removed, mainly because there is no funding, what makes you think that Parks Dept will respond to your request to remove healthy trees? Do you think you are going to lobby your elected officials and they are going to demand that tall healthy trees be removed? Good luck with that, because it's not happening.

The problem is the Parks budget, as Paul said.

The sad reality is that you probably should move if you are afraid of the tree in front of your house because no one that represents Queens has the balls to demand more money for the Parks budget.

They don't have the balls to demand more cops, do you think they'll demand tree pruning money?

Anonymous said...

Healthy trees, properly pruned for wind stress, rarely topple from the root base.

I have an American Beech tree that's about 5 stories tall in my rear yard that survived the terrible 1938 was noted by the carving of that date on its trunk.

Yes, it lost some top limbs since then, but I've had qualified tree surgeons trim and care for it over the years, and I think the money I spent on it is well worth it.

Anonymous said...

Don't entrust your trees to so called "tree experts" and garden center landscapers.

Real experts are Bartlett or Davey tree companies.

You get what you pay for and cut rate care isn't the best choice many times.

Anonymous said...

my wife filed a report online for a tree that had fallen. got a confirmation email the next day that they recorded the report.

Three days later, we get another email saying "they came an inspected the site and didn't see any debris"

How do you just not see a 30' tree laying in the street?

Oh, thats right. they never came in the first place and just lied so they can close the file.

This is what we pay for!!!

Anonymous said...

Years ago I called about the tree in front of my house. They did come to inspect it that week and we happened to be home. The workers said that the tree was fine and would receive it's annual pruning in a few months. We argued with them and asked that they remove 2 of the most precarious branches. The workers said they would get into trouble for removing the branches and to wait for the annual pruning. Before the pruning time, we had a storm and my neighbor lost her windshield from a branch on that tree. So even when they do show up, they don't do anything!

Anonymous said...

So let me understand this, you people are worried about trees?
The whole city was like the lost city of Atlantis, with billions in damage and loads of life lost, including children.
All of which could have been prevent by surge gates. And by the way, ny was warned decades ago about the need for surge gates, and did nothing. They were also warned about what the outcome would be, and did nothing.
Hey wait a minute, I guess your right. When the city floods again you need those trees to hang unto while you wait for the Coast Guard.