The trees along the sidewalks next to the street belong to NYC Parks. The Parks Department is responsible for the first two years of care after a tree has been planted. Due to budget and staffing restraints there is a need for the public to pitch in and care for these trees and their beds.
There is no better time like the present to care for a street tree. COVID 19 protocols do allow for citizens to come out and care for the trees as long as they do so alone or with those of your household as long as a safe distance is kept. It’s a great way to get some sun and give back to the community.
What does street tree care entail? Watering, weeding, mulching, removing garbage, soil aeration, planting some tree friendly flowers and plants, and putting up a tree guard are some examples of how you can help a tree. First off pick a tree that needs you. You can rule out tree
beds that have mulch and flowers planted in them already. Those are signs someone has taken on the responsibility for that tree.
You can also visit the brand new Tree Map: https://tree-map.nycgovparks.org to find out the type of trees that live around you or what the one(s) you wish to take care of is (are). If you select “My Trees” you can register a tree and log in the care you’ve given it.
At first it may seem like a lot of work. If a tree bed hasn’t been cared for in over a year, there will be compacted soil, weeds, and garbage to deal with. If you wish to plant in the bed, make sure you select plants that won’t harm or take resources away from the tree. Also if you wondered if dog waste (pee and poop) is fertilizer the answer is NO! Dog waste is harmful for the trees. For more specifics on all elements of tree care and suggestions for tree friendly plants and flowers go to: www.nycgovparks.org/trees/tree-care
On April 17, 2020 NYC Parks posted a Facebook Live video with some basics about tree bed/pit care