City goes to war against zombtree menace

Man vows to stop deadly trees

The city Parks Department has responded to the sweeping zombtree infestations plaguing storm-racked sections of Brooklyn, and plans to cull the arboreal undead horde.

“Parks has surveyed all trees within the inundation zones,” said Parks spokeswoman Meghan Lalor. “At this time we are planning to remove about 2,000 trees.”

Hurricane Sandy killed more than 20,000 trees citywide when it struck costal areas in October, and those it didn’t kill outright were subject to the slow death of dehydration, as salt deposited from Sandy’s storm surges seeped into Kings County’s soil.

These stricken trees pose a danger to the public as they waste away, threatening to drop branches on people’s heads when their boughs break.

There has already been one zombtree attack, in Coney Island — although fortunately, in that case, the victim was miraculously spared, and became inspired to lead a crusade against the borough’s undead foliage. After he was struck in the head by a falling branch on the Boardwalk, arboreal avenger Martin Novitsky lobbied the city to take action, prompting Parks to remove more than a dozen dead trees in the area, and prune numerous dubious branches.

The Parks Department says it had been surveying the damage wrought by Sandy all summer and has targeted at least 2,000 trees more dead than alive to get the chop — a death list that could grow as more trees fall victim to the salty soil. The agency has marked an additional 4,500 trees that may be poised to turn on humanity.

“We will monitor about 4,500 others that had low leaf coverage this year,” said Lalor. “We are also continuing to monitor the soil around trees and test for levels of salt and other elements that may have gotten into the soil as a result of the storm.”

The city won’t know the full extent of the evils Sandy wrought on Brooklyn’s trees until later in the fall, but meanwhile, Lalor stressed that taking an ax to undead arbors isn’t the only thing Parks is doing to defend the city from the zombtree plague.

“We have been and will continue to remediate soil, as necessary, with compost and gypsum to encourage the return of healthy biological functioning,” said Lalor.

And Lalor added that citizens can do their own part to hold the line against the scourge, by taking the time to water the more raggedy looking plants in their neighborhoods.

“We also encourage residents to water their street trees, which helps to flush out excess salt,” said the Parks spokeswoman.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-4514.
Zombtrees battle lines:
The Parks Department is waging war on deadly trees that were killed by Hurricane Sandy, and now pose a threat to humans thanks to the arbors’ decaying, falling wood. Park inspectors have rallied in Mill Basin — and in other areas of Brooklyn — marking hazordous trees for the chopping block. City workers should begin yelling “Timber!” this fall.
Map by John Napoli