Student Pruners Learn Their Lessons With Tribeca Trees

Jun. 03, 2013

There are 762 trees in Tribeca—and Steve Boyce knows them all.

The tree maven, who can often be seen walking around the neighborhood with an imposing, scythe­­like tree-trimmer, shared his knowledge last month with a doz­en aspiring ar­bor­ists.

The class, spon­­­­sored by Trees New York, trains volunteers to become certified pruners.

Boyce’s group started on Canal Street at Watts. As they made their way south on Hudson Street, they also checked on various types of trees near Laight Street and Erics­son Place. Eight Tribeca trees, Boyce said, are now in better shape because they got trimmed as part of the lesson.

Proper pruning is good for a tree’s health in many ways, said Boyce, who is president of Friends of Greenwich Street. “If broken branches are removed, they heal better, they look better, and,” he added, “people tend to treat them better.”

Monica Flaherty said the class “opened her eyes” to the number of tree species in the city. “Now, I can walk down the street and say, ‘Oh, this a pin oak or a linden or a plum tree,” she said with satisfaction.

It also took only one class for Jennifer Fragale to take a more critical  look at the tree outside her building in Chelsea.

“I  was horrified,” Fragale said. “Some branches were hanging too low, others were reaching too far out. This is a glaringly obvious tree in need of pruning!”
Although Kris­ten Jones says she wishes the Parks Department had more re­sources for tree care, she noted that classes like this could help.

“I’d like to think,” she said, “that we as citizens can take some responsibility.”

To learn how to become a tree pruner, call Trees New York at 212-227-1887.