Resources


Trees New York can assist with all of your tree-related concerns. Here is a quick reference of local resources. Please feel free to reach out to Sam Bishop, Trees New York’s Director of Education and Arborist if you need further assistance. sam@treesny.org

How do I get a street tree planted? There are two ways to get a street tree planted in your neighborhood:

1. You can request a free tree from the Parks Department by calling 311 or through the NYC Parks Department’s website. Anyone can request a tree for any public sidewalk in NYC.

2. To expedite the process you can hire a contractor to plant the tree, at your expense.

How do I get a tree pruned?

You can request a tree pruning from the Parks Department by calling 311 or through the NYC Parks Department’s website.

The Parks Department accepts pruning requests for specific problems like dead limbs, the tree is rubbing against a building, or branches hitting a telephone or power line. They will not accept pruning requests to just reduce the size of a tree. For smaller trees (no taller than 2 stories).

You can also make a pruning request to Trees New York and we will contact our volunteer Citizen Pruners. Contact sam@treesny.org to make a pruning request for a Citizen Pruner. If you are interested in taking Trees New York’s Citizen Pruner Course, so you can help prune your neighborhood trees you can find more information on our Citizen Pruners page.

How do I get/install metal tree guards?

You will need a Tree Work Permit to install the tree guard from the Parks Department. Most tree guard contractors will get the permit for you. More information about the permits can be found here on NYC Parks website: https://www.nycgovparks.org/services/forestry/tree-work-permit.

If you need help filling out the permit, feel free to contact our Arborist, Sam Bishop. Many Ironworks in NYC build and install tree guards, visit our list. You can also order installed tree guards from the New York Tree Trust.

If you like DIY, the Curb Allure tree guard is a metal tree guard kit that you assemble and install yourself. The Parks Department’s designs and requirements can be found on page 12 of the Street Tree Planting Standards.(PDF)

How do I report a damaged or a dead tree? If you know the address, the tree can be reported by calling 311 or through the Parks Department’s website at: https://www.nycgovparks.org/services/forestry/request/submit.

If you are not sure of the tree’s address, you can find it on the Parks Department’s new street tree map. The map only shows street trees, not trees in parks or other green spaces. https://tree-map.nycgovparks.org/

What do I do if a tree has damaged the sidewalk in front of my building?

If the building is a 1, 2 or 3 family house, you can apply to the Parks Department’s Trees and Sidewalks Program to have your sidewalk replaced for free. If the building has 4 or more units, you can have the Trees and Sidewalks Program redesign the sidewalk so the damage is less likely to reoccur, and give you plans you can give to a contractor. If you have already received a Notice of Violation, and have the Department of Transportation repair the sidewalk, repair of the parts damaged by the tree will not be charged to you. See: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/infrastructure/sidewalks.shtml

What can I do about bikes chained to a street tree? You can request that the city install a free bike rack through the CityRacks program. Please note that only NYC Department of Transportation is permitted to install bike racks on city sidewalks. If you want to install a bike rack yourself, it must be on private property. Installing a tree guard helps, it acts like a bike rack, and makes it hard for cyclists to chain the bikes to the tree.

If the bike is obviously abandoned (and damaged) call 311 to request removal by the Department of Sanitation. See here for more info: http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/dsny/collectionandcleaning/collection.shtml

What can I do to help take care of a newly planted street tree?

For newly planted trees that most important thing you can do is to water them. Form a ring of soil about 2 feet wide, with the tree in the middle, and fill it with water. That keeps the water near the tree’s roots. Water the tree with 15-20 Gallons once a week. It is much better to give the tree more water less often, then to give it a little bit every day.

You can also cultivate the soil. Cultivating breaks up soil compaction, so water and air can get to the tree’s roots. Soil becomes compacted when people walk on the soil, or when heavy objects like garbage bags are placed on the soil. Dig 2-3 inches down into the soil, and work around any large roots you find.

You can also add wood chip mulch to the tree bed. Mulch is chipped or shredded trees and branches. Mulch protects and improve the soil, and reduces water loss, so there is more water for the tree. Use 2-3 inches of mulch on the soil, but don’t let it touch the trunk of the tree. If it touches the trunk for too long, it can cause disease.

Planting flowers or bulbs in the tree bed is good too, because it improves the soil, and discourages people from walking on the tree bed. Planting native flowers are best because it also supports our native insects and wildlife. For more information on native flowers, see these guides from The Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the New York Botanical Garden.

DO NOT PLANT the following in tree beds: another tree, shrubs, ivy, bamboo, or woody vines. They are all too competitive for the limited resources in a tree bed or can damage the tree.