I enjoyed Brian O'Neill's column on the city's generally inept treatment of its street trees ("How Do You Measure the Worth of a Tree?" Aug. 20). If you walk around Downtown, especially around the federal courthouse, you'll notice that the city has covered nearly the entire base of most of the trees up, leaving almost no room for water to get to the roots. Not surprisingly, most of these trees are pretty pathetic looking.
The city is staking its claim as being a green, environmentally friendly city. While it's great that it has embraced green building and technology (like LED street lights) it's ironic that the city puts almost no thought into the actual living green trees that make the city truly green. I can't tell you how many times people come to Pittsburgh and are literally dumbfounded at how many parks and trees the city has in and around Downtown (they rarely comment on the "green" convention center or any of the other "green" buildings), yet the city places little effort in appropriately maintaining these trees.
If the city took the small amount of time needed to prune these trees appropriately, it would not only save money on having to cut them down after having killed them through poor pruning practices, but it also would increase its own tax income by making properties more attractive to buyers.
I have to say, though, the city is not the biggest offender for poor pruning habits; Duquesne Light doesn't think twice about butchering any tree that comes within a few feet of its power lines. Most of the street trees you see that have been topped are courtesy of tree management practices of Duquesne Light.
JOHN M. POLENA