Saturday, April 27, 2019

The Smallest Trees

A few weeks ago, a reader sent me a series of photographs, accompanying an email with the subject line "Truth is stranger than fiction." The pictures showed the unusual level "platforms" that had been introduced into the sloping sidewalk on upper Union Street. The picture below was one of them.

I explained that this work had been done as part of a stormwater separation project and referred him to the explanatory signage outside the parking lot next to Hudson Lodge.

Now the trees have been planted, and, for the time being at least, they look a little odd.

The structure of the planters, which are designed to divert stormwater out of the sewer system, requires the root ball of the tree to be planted almost two feet below the level of the sidewalk. For this reason, the canopies of the young trees are very close to the ground, making the trees look more like shrubs than trees. On the south side of the street, where there is no parking lane, the tree branches sometimes extend into the street, at a level at which they could be brushed and broken by passing cars. There seems already to be evidence of such damage on a tree beside Christ Church. Let's hope the trees get a chance to grow and accomplish what they are meant to accomplish.


  1. It's a great green idea - as you say, fingers crossed for good results. Perhaps taller older trees should have been purchased.

  2. Flora and fauna priorities. Seems odd that the city can find the funds to create these odd, and expensive storm-water diversions, yet can't find the money to paint the striping for badly needed crosswalks.