Tree Massacre at Church Square Park
Hoboken Tree Chop Job: Community Outrage Grows
The outrage over the latest butchering of trees at Church Square Park was thick in the air yesterday evening.
Hobokenites of all stripes gathered in shared shock, sadness, disgust and confusion at the sight of the nearly bare sticks in the sky that just hours earlier were bushy, shade-giving companions of all who love the park.
Just as it’s done a hundred times before in parks and on streets, a callous city government hired a chop-happy contractor to slice, dice and destroy, leaving little more than leafless stubs and a bill.
City Hall: No clue what kind of trees these are
If you think for a moment City Hall had any clue about what it did in the park, look no further than Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s taxpayer-paid spokesman Juan Melli, who (according to one report) was referring to these as “Bartlett Pear trees.” If they were Bartlett Pear trees, we would all be swimming in fruit. They’re actually Bradford Pear trees which flower beautifully in the spring, but don’t bear large fruit.
According to Hoboken411’s research, these trees will never be the same and the city’s actions have put them on the road to death. If there was nothing wrong with them before, there sure is now. Just look at all the Bradford Pears that have been butchered and later died on First Street. The one west of Mulligan’s is the latest casualty, and it wasn’t that long ago a butchered tree was so stressed it fell over in front of Fillippo’s on First.
Urban Tree Foundation: The city screwed up
The Urban Tree Foundation defines tree “Topping” as the indiscriminate cutting back of tree branches to stubs or lateral branches that are not large enough to assume the terminal role. Here’s what they say about what Hoboken just did to its trees:
“Topping Stresses Trees — Topping often removes 50-100% of the leaf-bearing crown of a tree. Since the leaves are the “food factories” of a tree, this can temporarily “starve” a tree. The severity of the pruning triggers a sort of survival mechanism. The tree activates latent buds, forcing the rapid growth of multiple shoots below each cut. The tree needs to put out a new crop of leaves as soon as possible. If a tree does not have the stored energy reserves to do this, it will be seriously weakened and may die.”– Urban Tree Foundation
By the way, the middle of June is a terrible time to be pruning these trees. Experts say it should be done before the tree has sent out the energy to flower and “leaf out” for the new season. Now it can’t properly regenerate and bounce back from the butchering. UTF also says Topping causes decay.
UTF: Topping Creates Hazards
“The survival mechanism that causes a tree to produce multiple shoots below each topping cut comes at great expense to the tree. These shoots develop from buds near the surface of the old branches. Unlike normal branches that develop in a “socket” of overlapping wood tissues, these new shoots are only anchored in the outermost layers of the parent branches. The new shoots grow very quickly, as much as 20 feet in one year, in some species. Unfortunately, the shoots are very prone to breaking, especially during windy conditions. The irony is that while the goal was to reduce the tree’s height to make it safer, it has been made more hazardous than before.”– UTF
The Urban Tree Foundation goes on to point out the Topping Trees is ugly, destroying the tree’s natural form and leaving ugly stubs. It also says Topping is expensive, which may come to the heart of the matter here. The Department of Environmental Services has again brought in a contractor for one issue (an allegedly dangerous single tree) and the contractor then decides that several trees need expensive service. How much did this cost Hoboken? We may not know for months, but you can be sure the bill will run into many thousands of dollars.
Meanwhile, all summer long children will now be sweltering in the park without the shade that these trees provided. The toddler park will be especially hard hit by a Mayor who shoots first and denies to answer press questions later. Share you feelings in the comment section below!
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Church Square Park Tree botchery exhibition
Today, Mayor Zimmer and the city of Hoboken announced that a single tree was going to be removed in Church Square Park because it was “sick” and in danger of hurting our precious children.
What happened instead was an all-out tree bloodbath.
City officials said that the work was implemented because of a large tree branch that fell (and hit a kid) a few months ago – and this was required for safety reasons, not for aesthetics – saying this so-called “pruning” would grow back in years to come.
Well, what you see here is NOT proper pruning. In fact, several trees looked like they got scalped by a tribe of savages. Whomever is overseeing this process should be told how to properly prune trees. In addition, it’s known that some of the kids we’re trying to “protect” have often been spotted damaging tree branches in the park (perhaps karma was in play when the branch fell?)
For those that count on the shade in Church Square Park in the summer will have less areas to cool off. And don’t forget to stay away from the Astroturf that covers a quarter of the park too – that’s often 20 degrees hotter than it is outside.
Reader Mail: A death in the park
Here’s the fabulous jungle gym. What’s next? World Peace?
Here we have reader JHoboken expressing concern over an large elm tree getting removed from the Church Square Park. Many pictures included.
What are your thoughts?
Murder In Church Square Park
A friend of mine today was passing Church Square Park when she saw a tree being cut down – an old Elm tree. When she asked what was happening, the man cutting the tree down said that when they were excavating for the new “jungle gym,” or whatever it is they are building in the last “open space” left in the north east corner of Church Square park, they didn’t plan very well and destroyed the roots of this beautiful elm in the process. He said it was killing him to have to cut this tree down. These Elms can live to be hundreds of years old.
My friend had already approached the Mayor about why something else was being built in Church Square Park to begin with and he said he was pressured by the schools and/or parents who use this park. So this beautiful centerpiece of a park that sits in the middle of our city has become a giant play ground for our schools. I guess there is not enough money in the $52 million dollar budget to create gyms and playgrounds at the schools. I just don’t understand. How can such poor planning lead to this? I was never asked about a jungle gym in Church Square Park. I don’t remember it being discussed in council meetings. And yet, up it pops and down goes an elm that has been watching its home be destroyed piece by piece – one less witness.
Call me a tree-hugger but this is just wrong.