This time of year, trees are the best friends of pedestrians and businesses alike by providing much needed cooling. After a massive effort to obtain 250 new trees from the city , Hell’s Kitchen Neighborhood Association jointly with CHEKPEDS has been adding tree guards each year for the last three years to protect newly planted trees on 9th Avenue. Last year two tree guards were literally destroyed by automobiles but the trees are fine , thank you! Again this year five new tree guards were added.

They are in solid steel with three bollards on the street side. The grid work protects from dogs. Shanti, CHDC horticulturist, does a beautiful job of planting the pits. And indeed thank you to Council member Quinn without whom this project would not be possible. Kaufman Ironworks builds and installs them.

Meanwhile, this week I came across an artisan in Hell’s Kitchen who builds a different kind of tree guards that seem so appropriate to side streets. They are built in pressed pine wood which makes them weatherproof and they age to a nice grey finish.  Most important each guard is a bench as well, preventing dogs from damaging the plants in the center. The workshop is right there on 49th Street. Very Cool.

But wait, there is more… from our friends on 75th Street Block Association comes the modular tree guard that you can assemble yourself. Very strong , in aluminium it works like a lego and you chose from various decorative panels that can be bought and installed overtime.  Sounds like a brilliant idea. Here is the company contact

Fully installed all  tree guards  cost around  $ 1,100 a piece. The modular one can start around $ 600, but once equipped with enough design panels you are right back above $ 1,000.

The trees are well worth it: given the chance to grow, they will last 100 years and do much good work for us: reduce energy costs, clean the air , allow us to walk on a hot day, and increase property values.

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13 years ago

So gthankful for tree guards at last, but, would you believe it, not a few dog-owners are so convinced that dog waste is good for trees that (you’ll see) they will encourage their animals to jump up and over the guards to get to the tree trunks!

On several occasions when I have politely told dog owners letting their pets relieve themselves on our 43rd St. trees that they are killing the plants, the owners invariably get angry and nasty – apparently they simply can’t realize that when a tree is attacked by urea 30 times a day, and resulting multiple times per week and months, that the bark offers no defense. My suggestion is to have metal collars around the trunk up to about 2 feet (such as a simple and inexpensive 6 – 8″ diameter stovepipe).

It costs the city and taxpayers as much as $1000 to plant a tree, and many of them are injured and killed by dogs. (or, to paraphrase the anti-gun saying: dogs don’t kill trees; people with dogs kill trees)