As the leaves begin to change, the urban jungle can look forward to a greener fall.
Council Member Corey Johnson has allocated $300,000 to plant trees in every viable tree pit in District 3. Approximately 200 trees will be planted by the end of November in Chelsea’s 495 acres.
“Street trees are pretty and nice to look at, but their benefits extend much further,” Johnson said. “They absorb pollutants and generate fresh air. They provide shade from the sun and food and shelter for birds and wildlife. They make our neighborhoods really feel like neighborhoods.”
According to the NYC Parks & Recreation Department, 150 trees have already been planted this year in District 3 as of Oct. 20. Only six were planted in 2016. Currently, the district has a total of 8,484 trees, according to the Parks’ 2015 street tree census, with a theoretical maximum planting capacity of 3,034 new trees.
“Young street trees face many challenges in NYC,” a representative from the NYC Parks & Recreation Department said, “including air pollution, drought and soil compaction.”
In order to better care for these trees, residents need to water them once a week with 15 to 20 gallons during the summer, remove litter and weeds and prevent dog owners from leaving waste in the tree bed. Signage and tree guards can usually help keep trees healthier than if they are left without the extra help.
The first round of funding came from participatory budgeting, with $100,000 going toward the NYC Parks and Recreation Department in the spring of 2016. This spring, Johnson’s camp decided to allocate $200,000 more towards the tree initiative from the FY18 budget.
To get a tree pit filled, submit a tree service request at nycgovparks.org or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published in Chelsea News on October 31, 2017.