City responds: trees are in the plan

19 Mar

In response to questions from Friends of Berczy Park (FOBP) about recent removal of park trees, the City Parks, Forestry & Recreation dept. advises that the tree chopping is part of routine and necessary maintenance to remove “trees found to be in decline,” as well as pruning dead wood and low limbs, to remove hazards.

Unfortunately, the City reports that there is no plan to replace the trees until a new park Master Plan is completed. The Forestry Operations contact adds that it would be unwise to plant new trees now, and later move them as part of park construction, harming young trees or disturbing existing tree roots.

This appears logical, but FOBP asks the City to be mindful of how our community members lament the loss of so many mature trees, and we ask the City to ensure that trees play a big part in future Berczy plans.  We note that two other Berczy trees are currently tagged with an orange ‘bulls eye,’ suggesting that their days are also numbered.

What are your thoughts on this?  Please add your comments below.

2 Responses to “City responds: trees are in the plan”

  1. kenneth smith at 7:14 am #

    What are the criteria for determining that trees in Berczy Park are “in decline?” And why were they in decline? Were they being looked after properly? They generally looked OK to me but I am no specialist. Some of those trees, at least, appeared to this citizen observer to be more in their prime than on their last legs. But again we are not tree scientists. What was the rationale for removing each of those trees. Had the problems been recurring over many years or was it some new development or observation made just this year? What was the botanical analysis — the tree doctor’s findings. Who makes the decision? How was the decision made? How can the City assure us that it was the right decision not another waste of time and money? What are the qualifications of the tree-cull decision-maker? Why not leave the trees until the park study was complete — if the study is such a concern. Were those trees beyond hope. They sure didn’t look like it to me. Those trees took a lifetime to grow and we won’t see ones like them again in our own lifetimes. They are all we had. In recent years there had been one dead tree choked by cement all around it, there near the fountain. It was dead and leafless for years. Yes. That is indisputable. And, yes, the others may have needed a good trim but they may not have merited the total Texas Chainsaw treatment at all. The explanation — “in decline” — is vague and lacks meaning. Everything is “in decline”; everything has a life cycle. Those trees were mostly alive, affording considerable shade and appeared to show every prospect of living more years, in my view. The City may have evdience to the contrary. Let’s assure ourselves of that. Trees are the most critical element about the park on hot, summer days. Parks? Trees are the very heart of the matter. Under their cover, Berczy Park is/was the coolest un-mechanically-airconditioned place in the area on hot summer days. What is Berczy Park without lush tree cover? A concrete and weed-filled vacant lot. Let’s seek proper answers. The City’s answer, while sincere, appears to be simply a bureaucratic form letter response. “In decline” is an unsatisfactory, unprofessional and near-meaningless response to serious inquiry. “In decline” — Says who! All the money and effort being spent and assigned from now on for that park will not compensate for what may appear to some to be a hasty, seemingly wrong-headed loss of so many of the park’s trees. We are from Missouri….Where is the proof. The individual tree health reports and the related analysis. Let’s encourage the City to be transparent in its Berczy Park decision-making. Let’s see the tree-monitoring and tracking reports, and the tree-kill decision-making analysis. Surely there is more evidence than this vague “in decline” judgement. Or is there? Job One for the Future of Berczy Park: Tree Management of What is There — assuring that the trees have and will have proper stewardship. Who knows? We might spend hundreds of thousands on re-engineering the park only to have some sawyer come along and chop down five or ten more trees because they are declining! The percentage of tree loss in that park during the past year must be a world record for municipal parks. The City should enter its tree-kill record in the Guiness Book of Records. Let’s ask for proper thoughtful answers, assuming there are proper thoughtful answers. Ken Smith

    • Friends of Berczy Park Working Group at 10:18 am #

      Thanks for your comments and concern for our trees. We should mention that in subsequent conversations with the City Parks and Forestry people, we were advised that the specific trees removed were actually diseased. Since these were ash trees, it is likely they were affected by the ash borer problem, described in this National Post article:

      If so, it was likely urgent that the trees be removed to avoid adjacent trees from being infected also.

      The City reps have assured us that a careful tree health assessment will be conducted as part of the Berczy Park Master Plan. Thanks again for keeping a watch over our precious trees!

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