Branches big and heavy enough to dent a car have fallen from an E.26th Street tree — nearly hitting the driver of the car — but the city says it will take a month before it can give the 30-year-old behemoth the trimming it desperately needs.
“There wasn’t even a wind when those branches fell,” said Tom Paolillo, who had just parked his car on the street between Emmons Avenue and Shore Parkway when the two 10-foot-long branches came down. “They barely missed me.”
At least two trees on the block have branches that have fallen or are in danger of falling, say residents. The Parks Department inspected them last week and determined that they need to be pruned — but not until December, according to city spokeswoman Meghan Lalor.
But residents fear that more heavy branches may break off — and someone could get hurt
“The trees need to be maintained,” said Paolillo.
Unstable tree limbs are a city-wide problem. In September, the Courier reported that more than 20 trees along Seventh Avenue in Dyker Heights are infected with a destabilizing fungus. And in the past two years, at least two people have been killed by branches that broke off. In June, a six-month-old baby girl was killed when a branch fell on her and her mother in Central Park.
Paolillo said that he noticed that the trees on his block have been decaying for the past couple of years and the local mailman said he noticed fallen branches on the block.
“A few months ago, I would just see piles of branches on my route,” said the mailman, who identified himself as Kayan.
But it’s not as if the city refuses to deal with the tree problem on E. 26th Street. In August, Parks removed five 30-year-old trees on the block that had died of old age.
The city pointed out that the trees in question are not diseased, and simply shed limbs more easily than other types of trees.
“Unstable branches are a natural part of the life cycle of the trees,” Lalor said.