Oh fountain trees, you’ve been hanging in there for a little while now. The tally had been nine dead trees as of last summer tho’ I’ve been told there might have been a tenth. NBC News covered the issue (and interviewed me) in 2011 — at that point, the total was 8 dead trees over two years (some repeatedly planted in the same location – up to three times!). In 2012, the number tallied nine.
A few of the fountain trees — like this one above — had been faring pretty well since their initial planting at the time of the park’s redesign in 2009 (note: these trees took the place of healthy 40 year old trees which were chopped down to make way for the aligning of the fountain with the Arch, part of the Bloomberg Admin’s plan for the park). However, now this tree south of the fountain (above and immediately below) is dramatically missing leaves at its very top.
According to arborist Ralph Padilla (who told me this when I interviewed him about the state of the “Hangman’s Elm”), “When the branches at the top of a tree die off, the problem is in the root area; a disturbance of the root zone.” (Construction? Lack of adequate protection around the trees.)
Someone contacted me and told me he saw one of the fountain trees replaced at some point in the last six to nine months. The city has typically waited until each tree was pretty obviously dead to replant and left the pits vacant for awhile before doing so (perhaps the Parks Department is attempting to be proactive to avoid more negative press?).
I’ve been watching the way the top of this tree is noticeably bearing no leaves – this also happened to the Linden tree before it was axed (tho’ the Linden tree was a bit more dramatic – half of the leaves at the top dead, half alive which makes me wonder if it could have been salvaged but I really don’t know).
Previously at WSP Blog: