Sunday, January 5, 2014

Overpruning is ruining city-owned trees

To (Parks Dept official):

I thought you and your team should know of a recent street tree branch cutting incident on 160th Str / Oak Ave in the Kissena Park area as reported by a community member.


This is a fine well-branched large-canopy speciman street tree that survived numerous storms as well as past abuses by utility line clearing operations. We are troubled that the homeowner did not take the proper steps to obtain an application for any tree work that would have been needed. And instead of removing diseased and dead wood the homeowner (in collusion with the hired tree firm) resorted to needlessly pollarding numerous beneficial and duly necessary live tree branches. We see that the tree trimming outfit hired as the "expert" by the homeowner to be at fault. And I am sure you agree that this branch pruning does not comply to even the basic ANSI and ISA standards.

With PEP enforcement kindly do your best to investigate this rogue tree outfit and ensure their removal from the Parks Forestry approved arborist list to the unapproved list. Because if they've abused this street tree here you know well that they are doing it elsewhere to other public street trees.

Thank you and kindly let me know of your findings.

Carsten W. Glaeser

(FYI: In many areas of Queens, trees that appear on private property are actually in the public right of way, such as this one. There is an easement for future street widening should need be. - QC)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

During a tree pruning course I was taught that pollarding, while a somewhat common practice, is generally not a good idea.

Branches will grow back spindly and be more prone to breakage thereby making the tree a potential hazard during high winds.

The city's guidelines for proper pruning, from what I understand, do not include pollarding. From what I recall, city guidelines specify that branches, if pruned, should be cut back to either the branch collar right next to the trunk or to the nearest bud on the branch if that branch is to be left on the tree. (And of course all dead, dying, damaged or diseased limbs should be removed)

Whoever pruned that tree does not appear to be aware of this. Also, the homeowner here should be aghast since he/she has not remedied anything and has had a hand in creating a situation that will likely be dangerous in the near future.

If something happens and a pedestrian is either injured or killed, will this homeowner's insurance still cover him/her? I don't know. If it were me, I wouldn't take that risk and have those pollarded branches properly pruned back to the branch collar. The homeowner should address this pronto - if only for his/her own sake. With a big house next to Kissena Park that seems to scream, "I have money!" who would want to invite a lawsuit?