Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tree-gate: Girdling at High Ridge Community Park

Click to enlarge image.
Tree-gate continues.

The picture above was taken by someone who knows trees and plants and gardening and owns a dog. Here is his report:

"This is the west side dog park at the bottom (west) end of High Ridge. This is the section for small dogs where I've been walking my dog for the last three years since the official ribbon cutting. The trees that the city Parks Dept. people planted the first year died, so they were replaced the second year. Those trees didn't make it either, so last year the trees, ten of them, were replaced yet again! These trees will never leaf out, because they have been girdled around the base; the living bark has been stripped away by the mowers and/or weed-whackers. This is really ignorance in action. Any suggestions? Call the Mayor?"

Quoting from the Policy and Standards Manual for the Care of Trees and Shrubs in the City of El Paso, section 10.4 (Other prohibited actions):

"Taking any action foreseeable leading to the death of a tree or shrub or permanent damage to its health, including but not limited to excessive pruning, cutting, girdling,poisoning, improper irrigation, unauthorized relocation or transportation of a tree, or trenching, excavating, altering the grade, soil compaction, or paving within the drip line area of a tree." [Emphasis mine]

Usually Parks and Recreation (or, up until recently, General Services) subcontracts the mowing of parks. Were the sub-contractors informed about the prohibitive actions not to mention the entire City's Tree Manual? Were they properly trained? Did Parks and Rec inform and consult with the City Arborist? Did Parks and Rec supervise and/or inspect? 

No. No. No. And Hell No.

Three years in a row and ten trees have died each year. Thirty trees! And El Paso needs more trees.

When will Parks and Recreation properly manage our parks and our park trees?

Advice on who to contact: Your City Representative in this case Cortney Niland, Also, Parks and Rec Director, Tracy Novak, Most especially Tommy Gonzalez,, our esteemed City Manager.

[One warning about Gonzalez. He doesn't know proper tree care either. In an email from him to Fred Lopez and others on December 10, 2014 with subject of San Jacinto Plaza, he wrote: "I saw a tree today that I was told was used for a Christmas tree. It is not representative of a xmas tree. Would you make sure we trim it in the shape of a true xmas tree….don’t make it a Charlie brown tree – but for sure make it triangular. That make sense? Make sure we get that done this week. Thanks! Tommy Gonzalez." More on what email shows about Tree-gate soon.]

BTW, the main search engine for the City web site still won't take you to the Tree Manual. A friend pointed out that one could find it at the Parks and Recreation page. Indeed you can, if you look under "Administration". In essence still hidden. Certainly not intuitive - requires psychic ability. A casual visitor would never take the time to find it.

1 comment:

  1. It seems that our citizens can only take on one issue at a time or they become labeled trouble makers. If we are trying to defend Keystone Heritage Park against destruction, then that is the one complaint we're allowed this year, according the attitudes on the 2nd floor.