Part I: Why Do the Newly Planted Trees Around the Washington Square Fountain Keep Dying?

Two dead trees line fountain (third not pictured)

Updated — Everyone is asking: “What’s up with the dead trees around the Fountain?” Currently, three of 8 trees that line the Fountain Plaza are dead. Two of these, in new locations via the Park’s Phase I redesign, have been replanted and died THREE TIMES since 2009.

As part of the park’s redesign, seven healthy, thriving trees — which had survived around the Fountain for some 40+ years — were axed in 2008.

In 2009, seven young trees were planted in new locations lining the Fountain once it was moved 22 feet east to align with the Arch. Two of those newly planted trees, located on the east and north side, died later that year. I wrote about this the first time two of the trees died. They were replaced; died again in 2010, were replaced; and now both have again died just recently in 2011. The third dead tree on the western side of the Fountain is a new occurrence.

That makes 7 new trees over two years that have been planted and replanted around the Fountain and have all died. You’d think – this is the Parks Department in New York City – this could be figured out, no? There is a problem with the design and yet the Parks Department is either in denial or won’t acknowledge there is a problem and send someone in to fix it.

As for the seven previous trees that lined the fountain for 40+ years — some were destroyed to make way for the Fountain’s move to align with the Arch; others were chopped allegedly to allow the entire Fountain Plaza to be reconstructed. The only reason reconstructing the entire Plaza was necessary was likely because they had to reorient the water lines underground for the new location of the Fountain.

If plans were created that accommodated and respected living trees, those old trees, which provided life and shade for the park, would still be here and I would not be reporting this arborcide – yet again.

Part II: coming Tuesday Friday.

Photo: Cathryn