Borough officials are blaming age and disease for the cutting of eight large trees in Park Extension’s Athena Park. The cutting of the trees upset at least one concerned Park Exer, who was seen last week videotaping the process.
He complained during a recent round table discussion meeting to local city councillor Mary Deros, who suggested the borough council’s next meeting would be the place to make an issue of it.
Minimizing the risk
“I was called the day before they cut the trees to be told that an analysis had been done of our trees in our parks, and those that were rendered dangerous, because they were old or were sick and had already a history of branches falling, that they didn’t want to risk anyone getting hurt,” said Deros.
“At the same time when trees are sick if you don’t contain it, it can spread and ruin all the other trees in the area. I’ve been told that the stumps that are there will be cleared, removed, and new planting of trees will take place this spring. The trees they will be planting are not tiny ones, like they usually do on the streets.
New trees are larger
“They will be slightly more mature. The diameter of the trunk will be a little bit bigger so that it will look like we still have trees, although they won’t be at the same height as in the past. That’s going to take some time for them to grow to that maturity.”
Deros said there was no question the trees were cut because there was no other choice. “It’s suicide to go and cut eight trees if they’re not sick,”she said. “We don’t do that. I’ve been trying for the last eight years to cut several trees on one street that have surpassed their age.
Other local tree problems
“They are huge, gigantic, in a very small yard in front of somebody’s home where the tree roots have gone into their sewage system and blocked the pipes, and they’ve had to call in plumbers and remove the roots growing inside.
“If they’re not cutting those trees, why would they in their minds cut a whole lot of trees that make such an impact in a small park if they were not sick? I can’t question it. I’m not a professional horticulturalist. They have the professionals. This is the report they gave me and I couldn’t say yes or no.”
According to Deros, these are not the only problems with trees in Park Extension. At recent borough council meetings, at least one home owner has come forward to complain about city-owned trees on the front of his property that are secreting large amounts of sticky liquid, creating dangerous conditions on his walkway and forcing him to shut the windows.
Bugs in the trees
“I’ve been told by the horticulturalist that these are small little bugs that grow in the trees and the sticky substance is their excrement,” said Deros. “What we used to do in the past when Paolo Tamburello was mayor of the borough was we dedicated about $3,000 or $4,000 so that the parks people could put in some kind of pills inside the tree trunks which would poison the bugs so they wouldn’t produce that sticky substance.
“But the parks people tell us that if we do this over a long period of time, eventually the tree will get sick and die. This is a decision that they have to take. So far we haven’t had to do anything like that. But this affects not one, but several citizens.
“There are many, not only in our district of Park Extension, but throughout the borough who are complaining about this phenomenon,” she added. “At this point it is too late to do something for this summer. It has to be done in the spring, and we’ll have to wait until the end of the city elections in November to make a decision for next spring.”