Ridgewood Shade Tree Comission Meeting Minutes 20200714

Ridgewood Shade Tree Commission

Meeting Minutes

2020, July 14


Present via Zoom:  Andrew Lowry, Michael Sedon, Ian Keller, Carolyn Jacoby, Declan Madden, Susan Nashel, Manish Shrimali, Steve McCabe, Melody Corcoran



Minutes from last Meeting (May 12, 2020) were approved.


  • Tree Inventory Status

The work of data collection is complete.  Declan and Civil Solutions are working on getting the data formatted and usable.  Declan was concerned that the data not be shared broadly until we have a better handle on what it says about the trees.  It was agreed that Ian and Declan would work together on the best way to share the information.  Village Manager has tentatively requested an update/presentation for a Sept. Council meeting.  This needs to be discussed and confirmed or delayed.

  • Garage Planting

It was agreed that the entire process of getting the 7 trees planted was unsatisfactory and while the STC had done significant work and made clear recommendations they were essentially ignored.  The CU soil was installed on the Hudson St. trees but installation was not done to specification.  Hopefully this will not impact sidewalk structure in future.

Watering of the trees was discussed and EPIC is responsible for doing it until the garage is turned over to the Village.  Then Village Landscaping/Project Pride will be responsible.  Subsequent to the meeting Andrew spoke to Garry Cirillo and he purchased a 100’ hose so the tree bags can be filled easily and quickly 2-3 minutes per 15 gallon bag.  They should be filled every day during this hot weather and every other day for the next 12 weeks.  STC members are asked to check the bags whenever they can to be sure they are getting filled regularly.  The Village has invested about $55,000 on the 5 Hudson St. trees and they should be carefully taken care of.

  • Fall Planting
    • We discussed identifying locations in the CBD that are not sidewalk tree wells.  The are several (5-10) easily identifiable locations.
    • Confirm with Village Manager and N. Bigos the allocation of funds
    • Review schedule for fall planting bidding process (we need to be clear to all candidates what the specs are and when they will be issued) There is an opportunity to get substantially more trees planted if the process is handled efficiently.  Subsequent to the Meeting Declan and Nancy decided to plan only 100 trees due to staffing and logistical concerns.  The New Jersey Tree Foundation has been contacted and their initial quote was much lower than quotes previously received.  With the $110,000 Capital budget for 2020 over 300 trees could be planted.  The formal bid will go out in late July and returned in late August.
  • There has been no progress in getting Declan Scheduled to evaluate 2018 planting and retrieve the water bags.  This becomes increasingly important given the dry/hot season.  The water bags themselves are worth over $1,500.  Andrew will follow up with Nancy Bigos.
  • Dina Kat has replaced Candy who retired.

Andrew asked if anyone would summarize the Tree Fund Webinar regarding sidewalks and tree roots.  Several approaches have been tested and seem to be much better than the current Village methodology in preventing sidewalk lift and root problems. Carolyn Jacoby provided the following summary of the Tree Fund Webinar:

  • Large trees provide most benefits. 
  • To maximize growth: trees need sufficient soil volume, space for root flare, water, room for canopy and quality nursery stock.
  • Soil volume: 1” diameter needs 50 CF; 4” diameter - 200 CF; 20” diameter - 1200 CF.
  • Sandy loam is best.
  • Products tested: Gravel based structural soil (GBSS 80% gravel, 20% soil); Supported concrete pavement; Sand based structural soil (SBSS); Silva Cells (Deep Root Corp); Strata Cells (CityGreen Co).  Open soil surface.  Results: Structural soils had the least root growth.  Strata Cells had best results - root growth and canopy.
  • Also tested methods for reducing roots that lift and damage sidewalks, extending life of sidewalks: 18” deep root barrier; 18” black poly layer; 4” styrofoam under sidewalk; 4” gravel under sidewalk; and 4” structural soils.  Results: gravel best, then styrofoam and 18” deep root barrier.


Please let me know if I missed anything important.

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