The problem Unplanted trees appear to be dying in a Recreation and Parks lot.
The backstory Daniel and Melissa Burke have been puzzling over an unusual sight during their regular runs through Druid Hill Park. In early summer, they noticed unplanted trees with their root balls covered in burlap sitting in a city Department of Recreation and Parks lot within the park, sometimes under a sprinkler.
"I thought it was great - there's going to be more trees somewhere in the city," Melissa Burke said. "But they continued to sit there for weeks and weeks."
More trees have appeared since then, but now the leaves on most of them have turned brown or fallen off, Dan Burke said. The two wondered why the trees were accumulating in the lot and why they were being left to die.
Thankfully, the saplings have not departed for that great nursery in the sky.
"We have been getting our trees to be planted this fall," said city arborist Rebecca Feldberg. The plants are destined to join others as street trees during the planting season, which stretches from October through April or May.
The brown or nonexistent leaves are not a worry. "They're dormant," she said. Like other deciduous trees, the unplanted trees have leaves that change color and fall off during the fall.
The department receives donations from nursery trade shows. "We generally try to only take the trees we know we can plant," Feldberg said. However, knowing the trees will only be thrown away if not accepted, sometimes personnel pick them up.
The Burkes were relieved to hear the trees will be planted. "You don't want to see taxpayer money going to waste, and you don't want to see trees without a home," Melissa Burke said.
Who can fix this Readers who see problems with street trees can call Rebecca Feldberg, city arborist, at 410-396-6109. City residents can also call 311 to report problems.
Update The rowhouse at 1620 E. Chase St. was demolished last week as scheduled. According to Cheron Porter, spokeswoman for the city Department of Housing and Community Development, Bobby Chen, the owner of the building, said it was damaged when the city knocked down the house next door. Chen had defaulted on his obligation to repair his house, which had been condemned before the adjacent house was razed, so he will be billed for the demolition of his house, Porter said.
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