After a falling tree limb nearly struck a pedestrian on Rockaway Avenue, the Village of Valley Stream decided to cut down seven rotting ornamental pear trees at the end of May — and the remaining trees, which are also suffering a fungus called “pear rust,” will likely be cut down within one-to-four years, according to Deputy Highway Supervisor Chris Vela.
“The trees that were dead there, were dead for a while,” Vela said.
When the branch fell, Vela said he called in Vinnie Drzewucki Jr., who provides villages with free urban planning consultation as part of the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County, to examine the trees.
He told Vela that all of the trees on Rockaway Avenue were infected and suggested that they be cut down. Vela said that the village was monitoring the health risks and would make determinations about each tree as needed. “Safety to the public is our main concern,” he said.
Village officials have not yet solidified a plan to replace the trees, Vela said, but they are considering replacing them with arborvitaes in planters.
Drzewucki suggested that the problem could have been avoided if there were a variety of trees on Rockaway Avenue, rather than just the ornamental pears. “If we could diversify the tree population, I think going forward, we would have a much healthier tree population,” he said.
He also said that if the village were to replant trees on Rockaway Avenue, officials should increase the size of the planting pit, which he said was about 3 feet by 3 feet. “Those trees are sandwiched,” Drzwucki said. “It really stresses the trees out.”
Other changes the village could consider, according to Drzewucki, are incorporating pervious sidewalks, which let water drain more quickly into the ground. The permeable sidewalks also reduce storm water runoff. “I’d really like to see them replace them,” Drzewucki said.