Washington Square Linden Tree No More | Did “Half-Ass” Protection During Park Construction Kill the Linden Tree?

Washington Square Linden Tree No More | Did “Half-Ass” Protection During Park Construction Kill the Linden Tree?

Updated 10:03 p.m.

Linden Tree No More
When the Linden Tree Once Flourished (2011)
April 2013
June 2013
The Tree’s Leaf-less Branches June 2013
Where the Linden Tree Once Was – June 29, 2013

Oh Linden tree, so sad to see you go.

When I first wrote about the Linden tree in Washington Square Park’s Eastern section in 2011, I discovered all kinds of amazing things about this tree.

Earlier this year or maybe even last fall, I started to notice the tree was declininghalf of its branches at the top of the tree were bearing no leaves.

Prior to the park being redesigned, lawsuits were filed for a number of issues but one in particular filed by attorney Joel Kupferman addressed the (anticipated) inevitable, inadequate tree protection by the Parks Department during construction. Arborists filed affidavits stating the park’s trees might not survive this improper treatment. This ‘warning’ was not heeded.

When it came to my attention last June that the 334 year old Hangman’s Elm at the park was “in jeopardy (NW corner of the park), I contacted arborist Ralph Padilla:

… [Padilla] said, “When the branches at the top of a tree die off, the problem is in the root area; a disturbance of the root zone. The root zone of this tree would be far reaching – possibly half way across the park.“

He continued, “Construction and trees almost never work out because the protection is so half ass. I didn’t see the protection they took but the right protection for this tree would be a chain link fence 30 feet out from the trunk.”

When I explained that the protection consisted of four rickety wood slats right around the trunk of the tree, he said “that’s a joke.”

This is what the “protection” around all the park’s trees during construction has looked like over the last four years, including the Hangman’s Elm:

Tree “protection” throughout five year park construction

Besides the tree’s flowers emitting an amazing sweet smell for a few weeks typically in June, here is some more background on the Linden tree:

Linden Trees (genusTilia) from Wikipedia:

On healing: The flowers are used for herbal tea and tinctures; this kind of use is particularly popular in Europe and also used in North American herbal medicine practices.

In Germanic mythology: Originally, local communities assembled not only to celebrate and dance under a Tilia tree, but to hold their judicial thing (governing assembly) meetings there in order to restore justice and peace.

It was believed that the tree would help unearth the truth.

Linden tree, we needed you at Washington Square.


Previously at WSP Blog:

June 17, 2013: Linden Tree (Still) Not Faring Well

April 26, 2013: Linden Tree’s Decline

June 12, 2012 & June 20, 2011: Washington Square Linden Tree in Full Bloom in Eastern Quadrant

Photos: Cathryn