Monday, May 31, 2010

A million trees = a million headaches?

From the Queens Gazette:

Queens home and business owners are seeking answers to questions regarding maintenance of trees planted recently under Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s “Million Tree” incentive.

If the city plants a tree or trees by digging up a sidewalk, the property owner is responsible for “simple maintenance” for one year after planting.

Simple Maintenance includes soil or mulch replacement, cleaning of tree bed and/or watering, when necessary.

Anyone with an older street tree on their property (one year old and up), can call 311 for all required maintenance, including pruning, root cutting, soil or mulch replacement and other “repairs” as necessary.

If the street tree has roots that are growing out of the sidewalk and breaking the cement, call 311 to ask for a Forestry crew to cut back the roots.

In many cases, workers will break open the sidewalk around the tree to create a larger “tree cut” that will allow the roots to grow without causing sidewalk damage, a Parks Department spokesperson said. If the work results in damage to the sidewalk, the property owner is responsible to repair the damage, the spokesperson said.

The property owner may insist that the city repair the damage, if he or she can prove that the damage was caused by city tree maintenance crews. Proof should include before and after photos, along with photos and documentation showing how the damage occurred.

If the sidewalk is not repaired in a timely fashion, the property owner may be subject to a fine issued by the Department of Buildings.

Department of Parks officials said the agency currently has no funds for the removal of tree stumps from city sidewalks.

Officials said workers would come out on request to cut down dead or dangerous trees but the cash-strapped agency will not remove the tree stump from the sidewalk after the tree is cut down.


Mayor Bloomtree said...

Leaf me alone!!!

Anonymous said...

LOL, Mayor Bloomtree.

But my frail 73 yr old neighbor on a fixed income is now responsible for mulching??? She has owned her house for over 40 years and now she is responsible to nurse a tree that isn't on property she owns?

I help her as much as I can and check up on her, but if I am gone, will she be fined? I don't know, but this is offensive.

Anonymous said...

You and your neighbor are the only two people on your block? You can't turn to another neighbor and ask them to help out when you are away?
Personally i like trees, yes the fact you have to water/mulch etc for one year sucks, but then the resultant shade means that you have to run your A/C less in the summers too.
The fines for damage caused by street trees seem onerous. Proving the damage is caused by the trees seems silly too, as anyone can look at a sidewalk and instantaneously figure out if the damage was caused by street trees or normal wear and tear.

Anonymous said...

Lesson in gardening -

ONLY in the Summer when it hasn't rained is it necessary to water the trees. Someone may WANT to attend to the tree more - but, not doing so will NOT harm it. Street trees are extremely hardy - there are only certain types of trees that are planted by the street because of the harsher conditions from traffic and pedestrians. They also can take less care.

Your neighbor doesn't need to worry about mulching either. The mulch provided will last a very long time. Weed removal from time to time is a very simple task.

I'm curious where do you come from that trees are so alien to you?

Anonymous said...

73 is not old BTW.

Anonymous said...

This makes me glad I don't own any property in NYC.

Anonymous said...

The city has planted a large number of trees around my neighborhood and block for a number of years now. They thrive with not much maintenance. Some very old trees have broken the side walk, but these are more of the exception and the sidewalks are so old either way that they needed repairs around other areas. I’m not sure why people complain so much. I’ll rather see more trees and less pollution.

Anonymous said...

Ever try calling 311 about a tree problem? They take your name and remind you that the city is on a 7 year program to prune all trees but they can't say if you are on the list for this year or in 4 years. After YEARS of requests the city came in a few months back and pruned all of the trees on my block. They did an awful job and gave me a hard time when I insisted they they remove a large dead branch that overhung the sidewalk. With attitude, they finally took it down.

I love trees. Including the one in front of my house. But if the city wants to plant trees, they should be responsible for their maintaince and the cost of all repairs caused by tree roots. I have always had to pay to repair the sidewalk in front of my house that has been damaged by tree roots.

Anonymous said...

we used to have a canopy of big beautiful trees on our street but when they gradually demolished all the private homes in favor of brick shithouse apartments the developers knocked down all the trees...oh well

we have lots of concrete now

Anonymous said...

Makes me not want to own a house or have a tree. Great!

Anonymous said...

Makes me not want to own a house or have a tree. Great!

Makes me not want to live. Great!

By the way, before too many idiots comment on the first-year maintenance issue, let's clear something up: the city does not plant a tree in front of your property without your explicit request or permission. So you're taking on the responsibility willingly. Stop yer whining.

Queens Crapper said...

That is an absolute lie.

The City plants trees wherever they wish. They do not need your permission to plant a tree in front of your house. You may request a tree, but they can plant one there even if you didn't and without asking you. Not only that, but they can mandate that you plant one if you are enlarging your house.

You don't own the sidewalk.