Getting to know our trees

Red Oak tree labelWhen the new trees were first planted along Roncesvalles Avenue in 2012 — before the tree guards or bike rings were installed – they were being used as bike posts. Many of the young trees were getting scarred. So we took steps to prevent cyclists from locking their bikes to them.

In addition to the bright green tags that we taped onto the attached bikes, we took to labelling each tree with their common name, Latin name and Polish name, thanks to our resident tree expert Bill Montague. Presenting their identity helped raise their presence from that of a post to a living and vulnerable entity.

We received so much positive feedback on the rudimentary labels we first used that Bill, who is now our RoncyWorks Tree Team lead, set his sights on creating more permanent ones. After many trials, Bill resourcefully arrived at an elegant solution that is simple to install.

You’ll now see black metal labels attached to the tree guards of each tree.  Well, almost every tree.

Unfortunately, we lost several over the winter and all that’s left of them is their severed trunks waiting forlornly in the tree guards for their replacements.

They stand on guard for trees

City workers install the guards and grates that will protect our street trees on the east side of Roncesvalles.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.

Black metal tree guards stand above metal tree grates.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.

Tree guard demo on Roncy

Sample tree guard on Roncesvalles Avenue

Multi-function tree guard.

If you’re walking past 367 Roncesvalles, you’ll see an example of the tree guards coming to the east side of Roncesvalles this fall, along with the tree grates to be installed at grade.

The graceful curved edge at the top serves as a comfortable arm rest when you stop for a chat. These grills can also work for tying up your dog or locking your bike should all of the surrounding bike rings — now sprouting up along Roncy — be taken up.

The four-foot high, New-York style iron grill has a large enough diameter for the tree to grow quite wide before it need be removed. The grates protects the tree bed by preventing further soil compacting by pedestrians.

The City is waiting for the soil around the trees to settle before they’ll install the grates.  In the meantime, cyclists are reminded to lock their bikes to the bike posts and not to the trees.