Our promised tree guards have arrived. There’s been rapid progress on the installation of the guards and grills this week. Over the last few days the crews have worked their way down the street and have now reached Galley.
The guards are wide enough to protect the trees to maturity. The grills provide a level sidewalk, while letting air and water through. They will also serve to filter some of the litter that has been accumulating in the tree beds. However, I’m sure you’ll still see people chucking smaller pieces of litter through the grates, particularly cigarette butts and bottle caps.
We’ll need to do some awareness building, so the tree beds aren’t turned into massive ashtrays. It bears repeating, that although the tobacco will decompose, the butts are not biodegradable. They’ll take 18 months to 10 years to decompose. So let’s remind thems-that-smoke-and-toss to use the trash cans. The new ones have a built in cigarette disposal feature at centre front.
One rather important aspect of this guarding and grilling is that the crews who did this were not arborists or horticulturists. They have piled up a lot of the soil that was scraped away to set the grills in flush with the sidewalk around the trunks of these young trees. This is not a healthy thing for the tree roots.
Immediately after I saw what had happened, I encountered a local resident with a couple of buckets and a trowel, removing as much excess soil as he could through the guard to cart away. As he and I discussed, you effectively smother a tree by piling up the soil against the trunk like that.
As he put it, you need to see some of the “flare” at the base of the trunk. This means that the roots are not too far below and that oxygen is more accessible to them.
Think about how you drew a tree when you were a kid… did the trunk look like a pole or did it flare at the bottom. Well, that was an objective observation of how trees grow and that is not what has happened to the majority of the amazing variety of native trees that I was very excited to see on the renewed Roncesvalles. If we want them to survive, unlike the urban forest that died up on St. Clair, as the hard-working resident told me, then we can’t leave them in the state the well-meaning city-workers left them in.
I have sent a letter to Gord Perks’ office and hope that something is done about this situation.
Thanks for giving me a platform through which to shed light on this problem.
…../Maria Nunes (Triller Ave.)
One question – as the trees (hopefully) begin to grow, what is the city’s plans regarding the electrical lines that are strung directly above many of the newly planted trees? Just wondering …
Although we would have liked to see the power lines and other cables buried below the sidewalk or the road, this was not an option due to the enormous cost of doing this. So given that we wanted trees on the east side regardless of the presence of power lines, the trees will have to be trimmed just like everywhere else in the city where power lines run through the trees.