CITY INVESTIGATES AFTER 50-YEAR-OLD TREE STRIPPED OF ITS BARK

stripped tree

Someone stripped the bark off of a tree on the East side of West End Avenue at 103rd street, and neighbors and city officials are now seeking an explanation.

“I believe this happened either late Monday night or early Tuesday morning,” wrote Ernie, who sent in the photo above.

A note attached to the tree scolds the perpetrator and asks for information.

“Whoever removed the bark from this tree committed a crime,” the note says. “They have effectively killed the tree.”

The neighbor who wrote the note said the damaged tree will have to be taken down and replaced, “but it’s a 50-year-old tree so it will never be the same.”

The parks department is investigating, and encourages anyone with information to get in touch.

“NYC Parks is investigating the damaged tree on West End Avenue and 103rd Street.  If you see a tree that you believe has been damaged, please call 311,” wrote Sam Biederman, assistant commissioner for communications, NYC Parks.

NEWS | 31 comments | permalink
    1. denton says:

      Now the beavers are out of control.

    2. Ner Beck says:

      There must be tons of security cameras on this block.
      Has anyone checked?

      • Barbara E. Morgan says:

        Dear Ner, Barbara Morgan here. Yes, the camera on 878 WEA caught the perpetrator and he lives in 872 WEA (the brownstone right next door). Several people know who he is, but Parks has not yet been able to ticket or arrest him. Someone who knows that he was the one who did it has to catch him outside of his home. I have not seen the tape, so I am not certain who it is. It I were, I would simply stake out his building until he came out,m then call the police. Thanks, Barbara

        • Independent says:

          I don’t get it. If the NYPD is certain of the perpetrator’s identity, then what is stopping them from obtaining the requisite warrant and then proceeding to appear at the door of the individual-in-question and, if he does not open-up, forcing entry. Agents of law enforcement certainly do just that in any number of other cases where they are convinced (or at least claim to be) that an individual is guilty of a crime.

    3. Lizz says:

      Someone doesn’t want their view or light blocked. It shouldn’t be hard to narrow it down to 4-6 apartments!

    4. Carol Feldman says:

      Check with 311 or whoever someone might call about problems with a tree. Possibly someone had an issue with this particular tree – sap on their car, leaves in their balcony, limbs in their view- could be anything. They may have called it in, got no result and took matters into their own hands. Worth a try.

    5. Martin says:

      Carol you should find the killer. It sounds like you’re already on the case. 😉

    6. Fred says:

      Settle down folks, the NYPD is on the case. They are going to place a mobile generator next to every tree on the Upper West Side, to provide sufficient enough illumination that it will deter any future crimes.

    7. Sam says:

      Typical UWS liberal tree hugging has finally gone too far 🙂

      • Upper West Side Wally says:

        Au contraire – there’s no surer way to slowly kill a tree than to remove the bark all around.

    8. joe says:

      sounds like the whittler is at it again….better phone batman

    9. Lucien Desar says:

      Probably someone with a machete was testing to see how sharp it was on the tree.

    10. webot says:

      Clearly an intent to harm the tree by someone.

      I have never seen this before – removal of bark in this manner. Would this be a way to kill a tree? Does the bark grow back ?
      honest questions

      • ELJ says:

        webot – this kind of damage can definitely kill a tree. Removing the bark creates a vector for insects and diseases to enter and spread through the tree just like improper pruning does.

        That someone would do something like this is an affront to everyone who lives in the neighborhood. The trees on West End Ave. are one of the features that contribute to the beauty of the UWS and make it desirable to live here.

        • J2thea says:

          Vector for bugs? Don’t be silly animals and bugs live in trees all the times. The tree gets its nutrients from the roots which travel via the bark. By removing the bark in that manner the top of the tree essentially is cut off from its food supply and will die.

      • Barbara E. Morgan says:

        Dear Webot, No, sadly the bark will not grow back after this kind of damage. The technical term for this is “girdling” which means that the bark has been cut in a wide and deep enough circle around the entire circumference of the tree so as to prevent the bark from regrowing, and thus killing the tree. Because all of the tree’s nutrients (roots to leaves/leaves to roots) are carried in the tissue right below the bark, the tree will no longer be able to nourish and water itself. It may have leaves this spring, but it will die. A couple of arborists have been consulted and they both had the same opinion.

    11. ScooterStan says:

      Perhaps someone was just ‘Barking up the wrong tree’ ??

      Or it was punishment for a tree whose ‘Bark was worse than its bite’ ???

      Meanwhile, the above “sap on their car, leaves in their balcony, limbs in their view” has a wonderfully melodic lilt…sorta reminds one (or even two) of “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” doesn’t it????

    12. certified tree hugger says:

      Yes, “girdling” will kill a tree by stopping the flow of nutrients and water up and down the cambium layer. A tree can survive bark damage as long as it’s not the full circumference. The perp knew what s/he was doing and it probably took several hours to complete the job.

    13. Steen says:

      Last summer, my family was in Riverside Park and we saw an obviously unhinged young man beating the bark off of a huge oak tree right around 105th street. By the time we saw him, he had gouged out a substantial portion of the bark. We went to look for a Riverbank Conservancy employee to alert them, but couldn’t find one. I remember he kept rambling on about about insects and invasions. Very disturbing.

    14. Craig says:

      This might just be the case to bring Elliot Stabler out of retirement.

    15. Terence says:

      Surveillance footage obtained from a nearby building shows a male wearing a hooded jacket exit 872 West End Avenue at 2:28am Monday morning and hacking the tree, then returning back inside.

      NYC Dept. of Forestry is in possession of still images from the camera and is working with the 24th Precinct and the landlord on next steps. 872 WEA only has 8 apartments, and 3 are rented to men. Apparently one of the men has complained about the smell that female gingko tree leaves cause when they drop in autumn, so he is the prime suspect.

      Deliberately killing a tree, “Arborcide”, is punishable by a $20,000 fine plus the cost of the replacement tree. Landlord has stated that refusing to renew the lease of any person found guilty of this crime is within his rights.

    16. Liz says:

      Probably the result of too many assaults from dog pee.

      So many inconsiderate people let their dog just go anywhere. These people actually tell you that dog pee does not do any harm to trees.

      I love this new concept in Europe. The pee gets reflected back onto the perpetrator. You can’t blame the dog — it’s the owners fault.

      Male dogs supposedly use pee to mark their territory. If these dogs are marking the UWS; it shows you they have good taste in locations.

      • Independent says:

        Probably the result of too many assaults from dog pee.

        Huh?! Did you miss the post above by “Terence” (March 26, 2015 at 2:07 pm), who wrote,

        Surveillance footage obtained from a nearby building shows a male wearing a hooded jacket exit 872 West End Avenue at 2:28am Monday morning and hacking the tree, then returning back inside.

    17. Independent says:

      “Lizz” wrote (March 25, 2015 at 6:43 pm),

      Someone doesn’t want their view or light blocked. It shouldn’t be hard to narrow it down to 4-6 apartments!

      “Carol Feldman” wrote (March 25, 2015 at 10:08 pm),

      Check with 311 or whoever someone might call about problems with a tree. Possibly someone had an issue with this particular tree – sap on their car, leaves in their balcony, limbs in their view- could be anything. They may have called it in, got no result and took matters into their own hands. Worth a try.

      I would imagine that complaints such as those described in the above quotes are made by many people, everywhere. Yet, surely only a very small percentage of people– even those who make such complaints– actually resort to committing acts of vandalism against trees. No?

      1.) Is it reasonable and acceptable to automatically brand people as suspects based on nothing more than evidence that they merely complained about the tree-in-question?

      Lizz apparently would go even farther than that. She suggested that merely living in an apartment that’s view or light is affected by the tree that was attacked is sufficient grounds to be branded as a suspect.

      2.) To those who would answer “yes” to my first question above: What is the extent of the behavior and actions that you would find acceptable toward the individuals whom you would consider suspects?

      “Terence” wrote (March 26, 2015 at 2:07 pm),

      Apparently one of the men has complained about the smell that female ginkgo tree leaves cause when they drop in autumn, so he is the prime suspect.

      I am sure that wherever ginkgo trees are found, there can also be found many people who complain about the odor of dropped ginkgo leaves. I doubt there are too many people who don’t find the odor in question at least unpleasant. Yet, again, I doubt that more than a very small percentage of even those who complain the most have actually omitted violence against a ginkgo tree or would do so.

      Is the man who appears in the footage hacking the tree identifiable? If so, wouldn’t that be all that is needed to charge him with the crime of fatally harming the tree?

      In any event, I do wonder whether any of the three individuals I responded-to in this post consider themselves “civil libertarians”.

    18. Independent says:

      I can see no justification or defense for this act of vandalism. I would hope that much would go without saying.

      Furthermore, in an urban area such as ours, each and every tree is precious and much-needed. Thus the loss of any single tree would seem significant and lamentable.

      Yet, I find myself less-than-inspired by the expressions of righteous indignation over the slaying of this tree. I find such protestations to lack a certain credibility. There are at least two reasons for this feeling of mine.

      First, I am reminded of an article that our regular poster “webot” had cited a while back[1] and of a particular case it described. One in which a clear and unambiguous act of assault and vandalism had been perpetrated upon peaceful protesters who were acting fully within their rights. Yet said assault and vandalism was defended and justified by people who shared the ideological and political motivations of the one who committed it.

      I cannot help but to wonder how many of the people professing outrage over this act of vandalism upon the WEA tree would have or actually have justified and defended the act of assault of vandalism that I described above.

      Secondly, while I am loathe to see unnecessary harm inflicted upon any living thing, even a tree, the sanctity of human life must always be supreme.

      Given the relevant political and ideological demographics of our area, it is, statistically, a near-certainty that most, if not all, of the same individuals professing indignation over this act of arborcide, have no such indignation whatsoever when it comes to feticide. On the contrary, such individuals ardently and unequivocally support a concocted, unconditional and nearly unrestricted “right” to such killing of nascent human life in the womb. Any righteous indignation on the matter that may be expressed by said defenders of the indefensible is reserved solely toward those who oppose such murder.

      So, just to be completely clear: I absolutely do not, in any way, condone, defend or justify what was done to this tree. I condemn it and, privately at least, I might even lament it. But don’t expect me to add my indignation, my energies or my tears for any tree. At least not to anyone who condones the ongoing holocaust of mass feticide.

      [1]Not a Very P.C. Thing to Say: How the language police are perverting liberalism.
      by Jonathan Chait, New York, January 27th, 2015
      http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/01/not-a-very-pc-thing-to-say.html

      P.S. As I noted in a separate post, I am also uncomfortable with the implications for civil liberties and the sacred principle of innocent until proven guilty that I found in some of the comments.

      • B. E. Morgan says:

        Seriously? You’re conflating this incident with abortion? That is the longest anti-abortion/anti-women-controlling-their-bodies stretch I’ve ever seen. You must have a great yogi.

    19. Independent says:

      The essence of my lengthy post of March 29th, #18, can be distilled as follows.

      Righteous indignation over arborcide, coming from those who support feticide, tends to ring hollow.