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Action Plans for Re-planting Trees

Behind the scenes, there is a flurry of activity as various entities within the community plan for replanting trees. The following is an update on the major groups at work:

The Great Neck Park District

The most immediate concern of the park district was to ascertain the safety of the remaining trees on the Village Green Park where community events are held and numerous people enjoy the park’s many assets on a daily basis. The commissioners engaged Richard W. Gibney, the principal at Gibney Design Group based in Wading River to assess the damage, determine which trees may safely remain, provide oversight for safe tree removal and assist the district in creating a design and plan for replanting. The firm provides landscape design and consultations with certified arborists on staff.

Mr. Gibney attended a recent park district meeting and advised the commissioners that 19 trees in the Village Green need to be removed in the coming weeks. Further, he indicated that it is very important, while bringing in heavy equipment needed for removal, that tree roots of trees to be saved are protected throughout the process of removal and replanting.

Selecting trees for the Village Green is different from the limitations of replanting street trees. Trees away from the street do not have to endure the stresses of salting, limited space, overhead wires and hits from cars and trucks.

The vision for the Village Green is to create the look of an arboretum and to make it inviting as a place of beauty with an educational component as well. Various ideas are being discussed for identifying and providing information about the trees and to provide information about the historic storm that in a few minutes dramatically felled trees that took decades to grow.

As a remembrance, some of the trees to be removed which have straight, sturdy trunks will be milled and made into benches and picnic tables.

The following is a list of the trees that Mr. Gibney is recommending for replanting. The park district will issue a RFP (request for proposal) for contractors who will bid on the acquisition and installation of the trees. The trees being recommended are those which Mr. Gibney deems suited to the location and without major pest problems. They are:

Autumn Blaze maple, European Hornbeam, Red Horse Chestnut, Shadbow, Katusa tree, Heritage River Birch, Forest pansy redbud, Yellowwood, Comus kousa, Cornelian cherry dogwood, Japenese cryptomeria, Fernleaf E. Beech, Upright E. Purple Beech, Gingko, Honey locust, Crepe myrtle, Sweetgum, tulip tree, Southern magnolia grandiflora, Sugartyme crabapple, Rustica rubra, Dawn redwood, Persian Parrotia, Norway spruce, scarlet oak, Japanese Umbrella Pine, Japanese Stewartia, Japanese Pagoda tree, Japanese tree lilac, Silver Linden, Princeton American Elm, Chinese Elm and Green Vase Zelkova.

Depending on what is available and weather conditions, after the trees designated for removal are gone, some trees will be planted this fall up until Thanksgiving. More trees will be planted in the spring.

The park superintendent, Leonard Celluro, is still negotiating with the insurance company which will cover some of the costs of replanting.

The Friends of the Parks Foundation, composed of private individuals who want to help, are busy raising money to further enhance the project.

Village of Great Neck

The village has, as a part of its budget, $9,000 available for tree planting in this fiscal year. Louis Massaro, the superintendent of public works, and his hard working staff fell behind their regular schedule due to their massive clean-up after the June storm, but intend to do some planting this fall. They also have road repair before the winter months begin as a priority as well.

Meanwhile, Robin Gordon is heading a committee of concerned residents to develop long range planning for tree plantings. The mission of the group is to also provide and promote information that will be of help to homeowners who are also going to replant trees.

School District

Alfredo Cavallaro, who heads the building and grounds department for the district, said that this year’s budget was $2,500 for the purpose of caring for trees. After the storm and the related costs of removing and pruning trees, there was an emergency provision made to the budget of $15,000. The district is working to be included in the town bid for the purchase of trees.

Town of North Hempstead

According to town supervisor Jon Kaiman, the town usually plants about 1,000 trees each year. They put out a big bid for the purchase of the trees and take advantage of the economy of scale for large purchases. They welcome villages and districts to piggyback on their orders. The Great Neck School District is planning to take advantage of the offer. So is the Village of Kensington.

Rafe Lieber, director of the Office of Intermunicipal Coordination, gave the Record the following list of species that the town will be purchasing this year: Chanticlear pear, Cleveland select pear, Kwanzan cherry, Purple plum, Zelcova, red maple, Sugar maple, Pin oak, Honey Locust, American Yellow Wood and Leyland Cypress. He did say that special requests for certain species may be made.

Nassau County Cooperative Extension Service

Last week, the Record spoke with Dr. Nina Bassuk, professor at the Urban Horticulture Institute at Cornell University about the wealth of information available at their website and their work with municipalities. She suggested that local expert help was available at the Nassau County Cooperative Extension Service. We spoke with Ralph Tuthill who said that just recently Julie Seghrouchni was employed to work exclusively on community outreach and assistance in the selection of trees and analysis of site and soil requirements. In addition, the service holds training sessions on proper planting techniques specifically for employees of public works departments. Mr. Tuthill or Ms. Seghrouchni may be reached at 228-0426.