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Queens Chronicle

Prune first, plant later

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Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2012 10:30 am

Dear Editor:

In the wake of devastating Hurricane Sandy, the region’s trees really took a major pounding from the storm. It is estimated that close to 10,000 trees were uprooted or badly damaged in city parks and along city streets.

There is absolutely no justifiable reason to continue planting any additional trees at this time. What the Division of Forestry needs to do is to inspect every single tree in every city park and playground, as well as on every single street, to see which have been compromised. While many of our trees may look fine, there is a possibility that there was damage done to their inner trunks or root systems. Many trees are leaning and must be immediately taken down before another storm, because they will most certainly fall in high winds.

Also, one species of tree that must not be replanted is the ornamental pear, due to the fact that these trees grow a fairly large canopy, which becomes top heavy. This puts tremendous stress on all of the branches, and when there are high winds, or heavy snow, they simply break from the pressure. Here in Fresh Meadows, the ornamental pear trees have been heavily damaged from the hurricane and the nor’easter that occurred nine days later.

Two species of tree which would be good ones to plant when the time comes are Zelkova serrata, which looks very similar to the American elm but does not grow very big, and Sophora japonica, the Japanese pagoda tree, which also does not grow very big. But no furtherplanting should be done until every single tree in this city is evaluated.

John Amato
Fresh Meadows

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