Several days ago, I was walking in my neighborhood and saw a woman pruning a street tree. I asked her if she had had Tree Tender training or if she worked for Tree Pittsburgh. She got a little huffy, saying that the tree is, after all, in front of her house, so she had a right to be pruning it.
“I’m a gardener,” she said. “I know what I’m doing.”
I have had Tree Tender training and it was clear to me that she didn’t know what she was doing. She was pruning at the wrong angle and too far from the collar of the branch. She might also have been pruning at the wrong time of year; I was not able to discern what kind of tree it was. Danielle Crumrine, executive director of Tree Pittsburgh, said some trees should not be pruned at this time of year, including oaks.
Even more important, with all the best intentions, this neighbor of mine was vandalizing city property. Street trees belong to the city (although I know a neighbor who planted his own tree in a city tree pit). Our collective tax dollars pay for these trees and pay again to replace them when they fail due to improper handling.
Someone has cut two young trees near the Arsenal Lanes in Lawrenceville. And in Highland Park, the bottom third of 8 dawn redwoods in Mellon Terrace have been chopped of their branches. Mellon Terrace is a traffic island roundabout at the end of Negley Avenue.
The top photo shows how the trees are supposed to look. The one at left shows the damage.
In an email today, Tree Pittsburgh informs us that the trees will not be able to heal naturally.
The email continues: “This action will have a cascading effect on these trees. More sunlight on the ground below leads to more weeds competing with the trees, and, after corrective pruning, the trees will have to expend valuable resources to heal over many wounds at once, slowing their growth and making them more susceptible to drought or disease as they recover from the stress.
“Dawn redwood, a deciduous conifer thought to be extinct until it was discovered again in the 1940s, is a beautiful landscape tree known for its conical shape and low, wide-spreading branches and not found often in the city. Tree Pittsburgh and the TreeVitalize Partnership have been working to incorporate this tree into landscape plantings where possible throughout Pittsburgh.