Tuesday, August 19, 2014

1 explanation for the seemingly random tree pruning and removal around here

[St. Mark's Place]

Through the years we've received a good number of queries about random tree pruning and, worse — tree removal.

Residents have wondered why some seemingly healthy looking trees are getting cut back or removed in the neighborhood.

This audit that landed in our inbox via NYC Comptroller Scott M. Stringer might provide some answers.

Let's take a look:

The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation has mismanaged the City’s street tree pruning program responsible for maintaining approximately 650,000 street trees citywide, increasing the risk of personal injury and property damage from falling branches.

“Auditors found that Borough Forestry offices in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island were paying contractors for pruning the wrong trees, for pruning that was never done and were not keeping accurate lists of trees that were properly maintained. Taxpayers deserve better management of our City’s trees,” Stringer said.

New York City’s street tree pruning program is run by the Department of Parks and Recreation’s Forestry Service, which oversees all street tree maintenance and operates an office in each borough. Private contractors that plant the street trees are responsible for maintaining them for two years. Thereafter, Parks prunes them, except for trees five inches or more in diameter, which are maintained by contractors hired by the Parks Department.

Based on a review of Parks’ operations and contracted street tree pruning services from July 1, 2012, to November 21, 2013, the Comptroller’s audit revealed weaknesses in the operations of all Borough Forestry Offices, except for Queens. The audit found that offices in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Staten Island had:

• Inaccurate lists, or no lists at all, of trees requiring pruning. Manhattan and Staten Island failed to give contractors specific lists of trees that needed maintenance and could not provide evidence that contractors’ work had been inspected.

• No evidence that required post-pruning inspections were performed. These inspections are meant to ensure that all contract terms are met and payments are only made for adequately pruned trees.

To read the full audit, please click here. (PDF!) And save a tree and don't print out the report...


Anonymous said...

This was *my* tree :(

Anonymous said...

This is what you get when you contract the work to non-union shops.

Anonymous said...

This whole city is run on BS and it gets deeper and uglier the more anyone looks into it. It's all BS.

EV Grieve said...

@ anon 5:37

What happened with that tree?

~evilsugar25 said...

mismanagement, sloppy record keeping and lack of followup. what a surprise!

Anonymous said...

After Katrina some firm from Texas was hired to tend to the damaged Oaks in New Orleans City Park. They had no working knowledge of live Oaks and did more damage than good. The right person for the right job needs to be the bottom line when choosing the contractor.

Anonymous said...

No idea what happened, but it's been outside my apartment window for the last four years, and I guess I got kind of attached.

- anon@5:37

Anonymous said...


There is no shortage of incompetence by union shops, particularly in the service industries. This is just what happens when bureaucrats are too lazy to provide any sort of oversight and the populace refuses to make an changes through the electoral system.

nygrump said...

Not sure why you're injecting your anti-union agenda in to this - the problem is lack of oversight of PRIVATE contractors by Park Service MANAGEMENT.

Marcio Wilges said...

I feel very sad whenever I see the removal of all the trees and shrubs around town. It's so difficult to find a patch of green land as it is and these poor plants are being hacked and torn down.