Ditmas Park West Tree Planting

Updated 2008.04.29: Added link to Anne Pope's Sustainable Flatbush post and Flickr photo set.

Placing the tree

This morning I helped, for the first time, to plant a street tree. It had rained overnight and was still raining when we started. Just one word to sum it all up:


Ditmas Park West is one of the neighborhoods of Victorian Flatbush. It's bounded by Cortelyou Road and Newkirk Avenue to the north and south, and Coney Island Avenue and the B/Q subway cut to the west and east. Over 25 years, Ditmas Park West has planted over 300 trees, averaging more than 10 trees each year.

About 25 people showed up this morning and fanned out to different locations. 6 or 7 trees got planted today. The crew of 10 or so I went with had two jobs: clear trash from a vacant lot and dig out a tree pit for a new tree to be planted.

The realities of urban street planting are not so idyllic as our vision of leafy green streets. First, we had to break through a few inches of concrete dumped over asphalt. Bob was handy with the ax.

Breaking up concrete and asphalt

Beneath all that, we had some not so bad, if compacted, clay.

Breaking up the clay

Once the tree was delivered we measured the depth of our dig and compared it to the height of the root ball.

Measuring depth

And kept digging until we got to the right level.

Still not deep enough

Then we rolled the tree into place ...

Rolling the tree in Rolling the tree in Placing the tree

... filled in around the base, leveled, and stabilized the tree ...

Tamping in

... and began filling in and tamping down.

More dirt!

Once the tree was stable, we cut off the twine and removed burlap from the top of the ball. Roots got pulled out and spread out as we went along.

Cutting twine and burlap
Removing some burlap

Meanwhile, in the adjacent vacant lot, our comrades had done an incredible job clearing trash and rubbish.


I look forward to future greening opportunities. I need some good work boots for next time.

Related Posts

Flickr photo set
Plant Trees in Ditmas Park West


Ditmas Park West Tree Planting, Sustainable Flatbush
Many more photos from Anne Pope of Sustainable Flatbush

[where: 400 Stratford Road, Brooklyn, NY 11218]

1 comment:

chuck b. said...

Looks like a solid community effort! San Francisco has a non-profit to organize street tree plantings, called Friends of the Urban Forest (aka, FUF).


They bring a big auger to do the hardest part.