Thursday, March 16, 2006

New Trees for Glenwood Road

An unexpected warm spell brought more than a balmy breeze to Glenwood Road last December. It also drew Richard Arnedos, a Landscape Architect in the Nassau County Dept. of Public Works, who saw a brief window of opportunity—and seized it.

In a single afternoon, he and his seven-person crew planted 23 trees along both sides of the street, from house number 13 through house number 128.

Their work goes a long way toward restoring the leafy canopy that has arched over Glenwood Road every summer for more than a century—a canopy that has eroded in recent years as many trees have been lost to age, disease, severe weather, and, possibly, to a certain changes in utility pruning practices adopted by the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) after the dissolution of the Long Island Lighting Company.

The Glenwood / Glen Head Civic Association has been requesting that the county evaluate the tree situation on Glenwood Road for several seasons.

Vestiges of Glenwood Landing’s history echo in the remains of a few of the oldest trees that survive on Glenwood Road—mostly Sugar and Red Maples planted a century ago. In recent years, many of the Norway Maples that replaced them, mostly during the 60s and 70, also have been lost. The canopy did much to enhance the beauty of the neighborhood. It also seemed to serve as a subtle traffic calming device, especially for the largest trucks headed to and from the Glenwood Landing ExxonMobil Terminal.

According to Mr. Arnedos, today’s successors—two Japanese Zelkovas, 10 Japanese Tree Lilacs, and 11 Japanese Kwanzan Cherries—have been chosen for their beauty and practicality. “The neighborhood should get a nice explosion of color this spring and summer,” he says. Landscape suppliers describe Tree Lilacs and Kwanzan Cherries as among the showiest of the Japanese varieties.

But Glenwood Road has a number of practical concerns, including overhead wires and sidewalks, that also have been considered. Mr. Arnedos says that the Tree Lilacs and Kwanzan Cherries are on LIPA’s list of wire-friendly trees. They will reach a height of about 20 feet in 15 to 20 years, he says, and may not require any pruning even at maturity. In addition, “their root systems are less likely to push up sidewalks than those of the maples they have replaced.”

Japanese Zelkovas are disease-resistant relatives of the stately American Elm. Although Zelkovas will grow taller than the lilacs and the cherries, Mr. Arnedos says the Zelkovas do not have a central leader, making them relatively easy to prune. And, because Zelkovas have somewhat extensive root systems, Mr. Arnedos planted them in locations where there are no sidewalks.

The trees have been fertilized, “but a good, slow soaking once a week during their first spring and summer to help them get established would be a good idea,” Mr. Arnedos says. If the spring and summer are dry, more water will be necessary. The Civic Association plans to supply watering information and encouragement to residents who received trees in front of their homes.

It appears that this fall the Town of Oyster Bay planted some trees on town roads, including Larsen Avenue and Cody Avenue. Anybody with information about this project—or any other tree planting observations—is invited to post a comment. Did you receive a tree? Were you pleased to see that it was planted? Do you plan to water it for a while? Any watering tips?

If you live on a county road and would like to request that a tree be planted in front of your home, contact the Nassau County Commissioner of Public Works, 1194 Prospect Ave, Westbury 11590 (571-9604). By the same token, a county spokesperson says that the county respects the wishes of anyone who declines a tree.

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