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City teaches boro tree care

City Parks employees Iris Rodriguez-Rosa (l.-r.) and Morgan Monaco help community members Manny Caughman, Marcel Robin and Jamal Wilkerson learn how to water the city's trees. Photo by Rich Bockmann
TimesLedger Newspapers

The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults should drink about 56 glasses of water a week and more when the temperature rises. The city Parks Department recommends that on those same hot, dry summer weeks trees should get up to 20 gallons of water.

Parks workers met with community members last week during a real scorcher on Merrick Boulevard in St. Albans to conduct a free tree-care workshop, trying to get neighbors both young and old to take care of their street trees and giving them a few tips as to how.

“We’ve been planting trees at an accelerated rate, and we want people to know what they can do to help take care of them,” said Morgan Monaco, the department’s director of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s MillionTreesNYC initiative.

The city’s contractors have already planted more than 350 trees in Community Board 12, which covers Jamaica, Hollis, St. Albans, Springfield Gardens and South Jamaica. Those contractors agree to mulch, weed and water their trees for two years, and the Parks Department is asking neighbors to be stewards thereafter.

Much to the chagrin of property owners, the city has raised water rates 78 percent since 2005, but Monaco said Parks was understanding of those who could not lend a hand.

“We’re just asking people to volunteer to bring a tree into their family, to help the trees in their neighborhood survive,” she said. “If someone is either physically or financially not able to, we’ll just have to leave things up to Mother Nature.”

A small group of eager youngsters from the nearby Center of Excellence Daycare joined local business owners to learn about the proper techniques and the materials to water their trees.

Marcel Robin, whose State Farm Insurance office sits outside a newly planted Little Leaf Linden tree, said he thinks the trees are great and that he would be more than happy to take care of them.

“I want this place to look beautiful and attractive,” he said. “They definitely make the place more inviting.”

The Parks Department offers free buckets or hoses to those who request them.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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