By John Amato
As the summer season approaches, more and more people fill the sidewalks and parks of our city. There are the thousands of trees that line those sidewalks and fill those parks. Are they safe to walk under?
The city Parks Department is responsible for the maintenance and inspection of all street and park trees. In Queens alone, there are over 248,000 trees. With so many trees in one borough, the job of maintaining and inspecting them requires nothing less than a Herculean effort.
While the forestry division in each borough works very hard to do the job, there needs to be several more professional arborists, pruners, climbers and tree inspectors hired.
The Parks Department should request state and federal assistance to get this massive task completed.
With early predictions of another very active Atlantic hurricane season by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, this should be another impetus for the Parks Department to really get moving on this.
Trees add beauty and peace to the landscape and supply us with oxygen, while taking in carbon dioxide. Their leafy canopies give us cool shade on hot summer days and their roots also hold soil in place and prevent erosion, especially on hillsides. They give off brilliant displays of color in autumn.
Their maintenance, which includes pruning and feeding on a regular basis in order to be kept healthy. Those trees which are weak, dead or dying must be removed to prevent possible injury, death or damage. New Yorkers should be able to walk down tree-lined streets and in city parks without having the fear of a tree or a part of a tree falling on them.
When homeowners or business owners are requesting that a tree in front of their property be removed because they believe it is a hazard, those trees should be taken down without question.
Tree inspectors must take into account the concerns of these people, while also inspecting and evaluating the tree. A written report signed by the tree inspector should be given to the homeowner or business owner explaining how the inspection was done and why he or she deems it necessary or unnecessary to have the tree removed.