Read what we found

The New York World has teamed up with Public Insight Network to deepen our reporting by putting questions to members of the network — thousands of readers and listeners who have signed up through member news organizations to offer their expertise to journalists. We invite you to join the network and to help us on our newest project, tracking the care of newly planted trees on New York City streets.

What we want to learn from you is: What are you or your neighbors doing to help saplings planted under the city’s “Million Trees NYC” program thrive? If you see trees in trouble, what’s wrong? Your responses will be confidential. We will follow up and let you know if we’re interested in hearing more from you, and may ask whether you would like your name or experiences to appear in the story.

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  1. I’ve been a Citizen Pruner for 25 years. The Friday before Memorial Day last year, Million Trees added three trees (which I didn’t ask for) to the eight I already take care of on my block. I lobbied my coop board to invest in iron tree guards for the three new trees to match the other eight. I provide 20 gallons or so of water per week during the growing season if Nature doesn’t provide it, have planted perennials, ground covers & bulbs especially around the newer trees, in newer, larger tree pits), & take care of whatever pruning is needed. The trees I started shaping 25 years ago are now four stories tall, & often receive compliments. Problems? The contractor who plants for Million Trees is supposed to provide 20 gallons of water to new trees at least every two weeks for the first two years, but I’ve never seen a water truck around the neighborhood. I’ve complained to City Council Member & Parks, but haven’t seen any results (and am not holding my breath). One day last year I saw homeowner across the street hosing down the leaves of his new trees, but not watering the roots. He too didn’t ask for trees, NYC & Million Trees doesn’t ask homeowners if they want a tree, & they don’t provide education in tree care. I provided basic tree care education to my neighbor (who comes from a country where they mainly use trees to make charcoal). He now waters the roots of the trees, & they are doing well. Proudest tree moment in the last few years: politely shaming a neighbor (& Girl Scout leader!) from a few doors up the block out of letting her dog use one of my tree pits as a litter box. Ground up Xmas tree mulch (which I brought home from NY Parks Mulchfest in January) helps.

  2. I requested a tree be planted. I always wanted one in front of the house. Well the city put in a pin oak. Prettyyes. Problem is the city just removed some last year because the tree was breaking the concrete. We have power lines and I can already see that the tree will most likely be butchered once it is entangled with the power line. I still want a tree but the right one that is not tO big in height or span. Why keep planting trees just to cut them down?