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Friday, August 13, 2010

Street Trees Need Public Attention

 Quinn Cushnie demonstrates watering techniques on Putnam Place in Norwood earlier today.

In case you haven't noticed, this summer has been hot and dry. Now, that dry, hot heat has put at risk thousands of recently planted trees in the city, including the 250 new "street trees" planted in Norwood through the mayor's MillionTreesNYC initiative.

The "street trees" -- trees planted along city sidewalks -- need weekly attention and watering to remain healthy and the Parks Department is calling on the public to help out. "We can use all the help we can get," explained Hector Aponte, the Bronx Parks Commissioner. "Anybody with a bucket of water can pitch in."

Friday morning, across the street from Williamsbridge Oval Park (and outside the offices of the Norwood News), Aponte, along with Jennifer Beaugrand and her horticultural crew from the Mosholu Preservation Corporation (MPC) demonstrated how to creatively and efficiently keep street trees watered.

The demonstration stressed a gradual process of hydration, a week-long technique of watering trees through water conservation. Quinn Cushnie, a crew member from MPC, showed how a 15-gallon bucket of water, fixed with two small holes at the bucket's bottom and placed strategically next to a tree, would slowly drain water into the soil and roots of a tree as needed. "It is a slower process that gives the tree water when needed instead of drowning the top soil all at once," Cushnie said.

Cushnie also showed how the newly planted "street trees" were equipped with irrigation bags - small green bags attached to the base of trees - which function similarly to the slow water-letting of water buckets. The bags allow for crews to fill them up with water once a week and then forget it until they need refilling the next week.

Aponte and MillionTreesNYC offered an assortment of tips for residents on how to exploit excess water throughout the home to water their local street trees. Excess water from bathtubs, melted ice from coolers and dripping water from air-conditioning units can be used to hydrate trees without wasting water from a hose.

MillionTreesNYC has more tips on watering "street trees" on its website: milliontreesnyc.org.

1 comment:

  1. (I'm not sure what happened to my earlier post, so I'll try to post this comment again)

    This only tells part of what is a complex issue as regards Bronx trees. The city picks and chooses which trees it cares about. As long as they don't get in the way of development, then they're fine. But if they do, Then trees? Who cares! We have bigger agendas!

    The city didn't care to much about the Bronx environment or Bronx trees when it cut down hundreds of mature ones in Van Cortlandt Park for a filtration plant and in Macombs Dam Park for a baseball stadium. And now there's a plan that local advocates say is terribly flawed to renovate Pelham Parkway and along with it eliminate dozens of mature trees.

    So when the Bronx Parks Commissioner starts spouting off tomorrow about the importance of city trees, don't let him get away with it! Tell him you know that the city is full of baloney and saving trees is not a moral imperative for the city, but only a matter of circumstance, depending on where the next bulldozer is scheduled to roll. DON'T LET THEM GET AWAY WITH THIS PHONY P.R. STUNT!


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