In “Atlantic Cities” today, Henry Grabar writes about the Treedom Project started by a man named named Rob Birdsong in New York City who saw a tree in chains and decided to free it. Then he saw another and got arborists involved.
We all see old bike chains, light strings and other strangulating devices eating into the skin of trees. Some trees grow over them. I've seen trees grow around the rails of iron fences. Like many people, many trees are resilient. But constriction can weaken them and shorten their lifespans, too.
In part, the article reads: “Since deciding to free a Japanese Zelkova choked by an old chain outside his Brooklyn home, Birdsong has assembled over a dozen targets for the mass de-girdling. “And I’m just one guy with one set of eyes,” he says. “Let’s see if we can open it up to getting feedback from other people in New York.” It’s a good question: Of the city’s 5.5 million trees, how many have been locked up for decades?"
Every day, I walk past trees that are being tortured by all sorts of constraints and heedless mangling. I worry about the young saplings in the middle sidewalk strip in front of the River Vue apartments on Commonwealth Place. (One is shown in photo above.) For them, I have a rogue fantasy of unwrapping strings of Christmas lights that have encircled the trunk and branches of each one.
Not wanting to be accused of stealing Christmas lights, I called Piatt Properties at 412.434.5700 and was told the site is managed by Lincoln Eastern Management Corp. in Bethel Park, so I called and left a message at 833.2666. Unsure whether the trees are private or public property, I also left a message with city arborist Lisa Ceoffe to see if the city has the authority to exert.
Feel free to get behind my own “treedom” project. One after another set of eyes could save a lot of trees.