What’s going on with the young street trees planted as part of the upgrades to Queens Quay, and why are so many dying or already dead?
Anybody who’s paying attention has noticed that dozens of trees planted less than two years ago along Queens Quay are withering or deceased, particularly on the south side west of York St.
We’ve received notes about it from TTC streetcar driver Terry Manella, who has been watching closely since before they were planted, and from David Crawford, our well-informed friend from the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood Association.
Crawford noted that the trees are planted in special trenches to allow more oxygen and moisture to reach the roots than would otherwise be the case, but far too many are still dying.
“Last summer, Waterfront Toronto told me that there were plans to replace all dead and missing trees in spring 2018. Well, spring has now passed with no action that I can see,” he said.
“Is the earth not good, were the wrong species planted, did nobody water them properly?” he asked, adding, “Queens Quay is a signature area and the situation is simply unacceptable.”
Manella noted that “a very expensive and complicated plastic structure was placed well below the bicycle trail, all across the main waterfront area,” referring to the same special trenches that Crawford referenced.
He estimates that hundreds of trees are “dying off. Just walk or ride the trail and stop in front of the Harbourfront Centre, and take a good look,” he said, adding that he doesn’t think the trees are getting a good supply of water.
“Even planting new trees will not solve this problem. I hate to see trees dying for no good reason.”
STATUS: We turned to Waterfront Toronto, which was in charge of the Queens Quay redevelopment, and urban forestry, which has a vested interest in tree issues, for answers.
Christopher McKinnon, a manager with Waterfront Toronto, confirmed in an email that all dead trees are under warranty from the contractor and will be replaced at no cost to taxpayers. “While it is normal for a percentage of newly planted trees to fail, the rate of failure we’re seeing on the south side of Queens Quay is higher than we typically see,” he said. “We’re actively working with the city’s urban forestry team to consolidate recommendations and make a plan to move forward with replacement. We’ve missed the springtime window for planting, so they earliest they can be replaced is in the fall. Planting new trees in summer heat will lead to more stress and tree failure.”
Andrew Pickett, a senior official with urban forestry, said his department will be “working with Waterfront Toronto on a replanting strategy, looking at species that are suitable to this type of growing environment and determining whether any soil remediation is required. The trees are planted in a structural soil system which protects from soil compaction. Uncompacted soil provides space for oxygen and water which can be taken up by the tree’s root systems.”
Maybe we’re being too judge-y, but it doesn’t sound like anybody knows why so many trees are dying, at least not yet.
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Source : TheStar