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Arborcide! Tree vandals uproot 120 Gerritsen Beach saplings — twice in one month! • Brooklyn Paper

Arborcide! Tree vandals uproot 120 Gerritsen Beach saplings — twice in one month!

ARBORCIDE! Richard Halstead shows off one of the saplings that was uprooted by vandals near the Gerritsen Beach ballfields in Marine Park.
Community Newspaper Group / Daniel Bush

Arborcidal maniacs who destroyed a grove of Gerritsen Beach saplings earlier this month have again attacked the hard-luck timberland weeks after it was replanted by the city, driving the Parks Department and hardwood-huggers out of their trees with rage.

The crooks uprooted approximately 120 three-foot-tall seedlings in Marine Park, between the Gerritsen Beach ball fields and PS 277, on the weekend before Thanksgiving, forcing Parks workers to return after the holiday to clean up the pulpy mess.

Most of the cute baby trees, whose types weren’t immediately known, were replanted within days though the field still remains strewn with a dozen keeled-over casualties.

Residents blamed area mischief-makers who they said wanted to reassert themselves after this Halloween’s cop crackdown to avoid a repeat of last year’s Oct. 31 fiasco when thrill-seekers switched from eggs and shaving cream to potatoes and rocks.

“I guess they’re just trying to show it doesn’t have to be Halloween for them to act like jerks,” said Joe Nicoletti, owner of a deli at Gerritsen and Channel avenues.

But the trees may have been doomed saps from the get-go.

City parks officials and volunteers planted 4,000 of them on Oct. 22 as part of the city’s MillionTreesNYC program, but the ones near PS 277 didn’t last long. Parks received word on Nov. 2 that they were overturned, and dispatched workers to salvage them, only to see their hard work ravaged three weeks later.

The vandalism has steamed Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey.

“We take this vandalism very seriously [and] will fully restore the area,” he said.

Do-gooder greenthumbs beware: Under the law it’s illegal for anyone except for Parks employees and certified pruners to work on city trees. Lawbreakers will be fined and arrested, stated the agency.

News of the arborcide was first reported by the blog Gerritsenbeach.net.

Furious residents said the tree vandals deserve to be punished.

“I hope they’re caught,” said Richard Halstead. “Whoever did this has no respect.”

Reach reporter Daniel Bush at dbush@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow him at twitter.com/dan_bush.

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