Thursday, November 5, 2009

Poster Child Tree - Another Sad Story?

I was alerted today to a tree on village property (Memorial Park) which really serves for me as a "poster child" presenting the difficult trade-offs our village is facing regarding Con Ed's strictly-enforced line clearance guidelines:

Imagine for the moment a mature Oak tree (perhaps 24" diameter, 50-60 ft or more in height, perhaps half a century in age) growing tall in Memorial Park near the old black wrought iron fence along South Broadway. Imagine it to be a strong, healthy tree which arches gently out over S. Broadway forming a cool shady canopy, now turning yellow and brown in the fall.

Of course you already knew that this is not an imaginary tree, but real: a tree which is in perfect health and is one of the nicer trees along this stretch of Broadway. (The area is wooded, but there are many scruffy or immature trees around this one...) The tree is located about a hundred feet south of Station Road behind the iron fence on the west side of the S. Broadway. Can't miss it: it wears a red ribbon sealing it's fate.

With it's overarching canopy, this oak provides the New England like feel which makes this stretch of S. Broadway so comforting.

Due to current Con Ed pruning requirements, a good deal of the crown would have to be removed. The tree would most likely not survive this for more than a year or so. THEN, the village would have to pay the cost of removing a now dangerous dead tree.

Because of this assessment, the Parks Dept concurred with Con Ed to have it removed - really as a FUTURE cost prevention and safety measure for the village. (To be clear, I do not disagree with this decision based upon the constraints of the situation. I disagree with the inflexible pruning CONSTRAINTS imposed by Con Ed.)

Everyone involved knows this tree is in good shape, looks quite nice, providing both aesthetic as well as important eco-habitat value to the village and the park. And of course, it stands in the public street-scape of S. Broadway - serving as part of the inviting canopy zone around Station Road (headed north) which is our gateway to Main Street.

So, this is what I am calling a "poster child" tree - one that clearly demonstrates the need for Con Ed to back off of it's rigid pruning specs - for the greater benefit of the community. Left alone or with minimal pruning, this tree would (over the course of a handful of years) grow beyond and outside of the no-grow wire zone (much as our Sycamores have over time).

This tree could be saved if a reasonable effort was made to compromise - accept the risk that such a healthy tree will not cause wire damage. But there is not much time as the tree removal trucks will be getting to this area "any day now". Perhaps even tomorrow or early next week?

1 comment:

-mg- said...

As of last week, after a review by the senior Con Ed arborist, it was determined that a less severe pruning of this Oak would actually be required. In addition, the Oak was determined to be in healthy condition overall. With this decision, the Parks Department agreed that the tree should remain and would not have to be removed. Another tree spared!