Tree Pits of Death

Some downtown blocks I am familiar with from regular use, at one time had somewhat healthy — well, at least ALIVE – trees. But these live trees are getting scarcer and scarcer.

Many are anaemic, tattered, three quarters dead sticks.

Building owners and managers now seem to treat trees and annuals. Stick ’em in, watch ’em die. Rinse and repeat.

Maybe the original tree pits are too small. Maybe the irrigation systems are broken. Maybe sticking trees into the same little cube of soil that has been there for 15-20 years isn’t nutritious.

So why do building owners continue to stick the trees into certain death?

Is it because their site plan requires them to plant trees, and replant trees, and as long as one goes through the motions the city is OK? Don’t results matter?

I notice there are some new, larger raised curb beds on Metcalfe and the new Queen street rebuild. Maybe they will work better.

Or maybe we should give up on the sticking trees into inhospitable grounds, and bring out potted trees for three seasons, say April to Jan 5th. Then fork lift the pots off to some quieter spot, even if just the back of a parking lot, to rest out the winter.

Because the current process is just murder.

One thought on “Tree Pits of Death

  1. In addition to the reasons you cite for why trees embedded in downtown sidewalks die consider also the introduction of lethal doses of salt during the winter months. Either put significant (>12″) curbs around the trees to keep the salt away from the soil, noting that this will impede the already woefully inadequate snow removal efforts, or go with the potted plants suggestion, although with the standard approach of pushing the snow to the back of the parking lot, rather than actually removing it, I suspect we will be introducing the potted trees to a new form of punishment.

    Now, if the site plan required the property owner to install sidewalk heating with, say the redirection of grey waste water (from sinks) or glycol from a receptacle in the basement of the building, through a network of pipes embedded an inch or two below the surface of the concrete, we could be solving two problems simultaneously. Of course, that would require the planning silo to find, then interface (because talking is asking too much) with the sidewalk snow removal silo. That just won’t happen, as the people who report to work at Laurier Ave/Constellation Drive will consider this another imposition from those of us who just don’t understand how government works.

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