270 Trees in Washington Square Park Underwent Maintenance This Month; 3 Felled, Removed Due to Poor Health

Updated Washington_Square_Park_Tree_Maintenance_1
The eclipse eclipsed the focus on the trees! A lot of focus on New York City park trees of late as the Central Park Conservancy has come “under fire” for its tree care after another tree fell, seriously injuring two people last week; then a limb came down at City Hall Park.

Over the last few weeks, the trees at Washington Square Park have been undergoing scheduled inspection and maintenance. Of this work, a NYC Parks Department spokesperson commented:

“A thorough inspection of all trees in Washington Square Park was completed earlier this month, and we are in the process of pruning approximately 270 trees in Washington Square Park.” I wondered if this was a regular occurrence; the response: “This is a standard Forestry inspection completed every few years to ensure the safety of park goers.”

That inspection led to the decision to remove – i.e., chop down  – three park trees that, sadly, were found to be in poor health.

The foresters determined three trees needed to be removed: a Sycamore tree in the Southwest corner, a Pin Oak in the Northwest Quadrant, and near the playground along Washington Square North, an Ash tree.

Work being completed in Southwest Quadrant:

This tree is the Sycamore that was removed in the Southwest corner; this is the removal in stages:


So sad.

A branch from a tree came down near the Holley Plaza on Sunday, August 13th. I was told it happened just after I left the area and occurred a bit further west, no one was hurt.

Thankfully, the 300+ year old “Hangman’s” English Elm in the Northwest Quadrant seems to be surviving, despite being in jeopardy in 2012 ; the tree protection for that tree in particular during construction of the redesigning of the park was deemed by an arborist as “a joke.” More to come on the perpetually dying fountain trees – 14 have died thus far. Other trees have died over the last 8 years that certainly could have been due to the construction; it can take years before they die. (R.I.P, Linden tree.)

The tree company doing its work recently in the park:
emerald tree care company washington square park 2017

At Washington Square Park, the park is not run by a private organization, unlike city parks like Central Park and Bryant Park; it remains run and managed by the NYC Parks Department. Keep the parks public! The Parks Department needs to remember that its larger parks do not have to be handed off to private organizations… they are perfectly beyond capable, and there are many reasons parks are best left in the hands of the city agency. So many parks have been privatized – but not Washington Square, due to its vigilant neighbors.

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Photo #1 and #2: Stacy Walsh-Rosenstock
Photo #3: WSP EcoProjects
Bottom photo: Emerald Tree & Shrub Care via Instagram

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