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About 10 trees are planned to be planted in New York: how to take part


Alina Prikhodko

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The largest greening campaign in the last decade is taking place in New York. This spring they plan to plant 9300 trees. According to Gothamist, at the moment, workers have given new life to almost 3000 seedlings.

Both trees and the shade they provide are essential in a rapidly warming climate. Nave Strauss, the city's director of street tree planting, says the Parks Department targets areas where sparse green space and high poverty rates make residents especially vulnerable to extreme heat.

“Our main prerogative is to plant the right tree for the right location, which will be the largest possible and also provide the most shade and cooling air filtration,” he explained.

Many trees were planted in Harlem, Morningside Heights, Sunset Park and other areas. More plantings are planned in Pelham Parkway, Parkchester and Castle Hill in the Bronx, as well as a wide swath of southeastern Queens.

How to take part

The easiest way is to call 311. Trees and fencing can be obtained in exchange for donations to NYC Parks Tree Time, a non-profit organization affiliated with the parks department.

Parks department contractors look after the trees for the first two years after planting. Two years is the most vulnerable point for young trees. Approximately 94% of seedlings survive. According to experts, the new tree will be grateful for abundant daily watering, especially from May to October.

On the subject: 'Dinosaurs walked in it': the oldest forest on the planet is located in New York

In addition, you can plant flowers around the flower bed. You just need to follow the recommendations of the Parks Department to keep the seedling safe and sound. The department offers many volunteer activities to care for trees in your site.

Eric Adams, while still a candidate for mayor, promised to allocate 1% of the city budget to the needs of this department. His latest budget proposal allocated only half that amount for these purposes. Some city officials are calling on the mayor to use state and federal funds to make up the difference. They repeated their request for Adams to commit to planting 1 million new trees by 2030, a plan that builds on the city's successful campaign MillionTreesNYC, which ended in 2015.

New York is a tough city for a small tree

Seedlings must survive power lines, pedestrian and dog traffic, air pollution, severe storms and disease—sometimes all at once. The city's director of street tree planting says he and his team select seedlings based in part on their vigor, shade cover and the height of mature trees. Tall trees are ideal for open spaces, while shorter species do better under power lines, he said.

The new selection of seedlings includes more than 130 different species, half of which are imported from outside the United States. According to Parks Department experts, a wide variety of trees is key to maintaining a healthy urban canopy and mitigating the effects of such botanical diseases.

Among the trees for planting there are also rare new varieties, such as American persimmon, which can even bear edible fruit if properly cared for. And as the city's climate turns subtropical, Strauss and his team are gradually introducing some warmer-weather varieties, including southern magnolias and crepe myrtle.

Park officials select species that can withstand severe flooding and summer storms. The city's slushy winters mean it's still not home to truly tropical flora.

“We haven’t gotten to the point of planting palm trees yet,” Strauss noted. “This is not Florida.” New York's main plant species are American elms, spineless honey locusts, and London sycamore. They are loved for their hardiness and shade canopies.

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