Ridgewood Shade Tree Commission Meeting Minutes 20180814

Ridgewood Shade Tree Commission
Meeting Minutes
August 14, 2018

The regular meeting of the Ridgewood Shade Tree Commission was called to order at 7:35PM on August 14, 2018 by Andrew Lowry.

Andrew Lowry, Dan Cramblitt, Melody Corcoran, Ian Keller, Carolyn Jacoby, Declan Madden

Approval of Minutes
Motion to approve the minutes for July 10, 2018 was made by Ian Keller, seconded by Carolyn Jacoby, and approved by all present.

Andrew Hillman’s Draft Tree/ Tree Well Evaluation Report

Tree/ Tree Well Evaluation
Ridgewood, NJ
Broad St. and Ridgewood Ave.
Draft Report

Project Description:
1. Evaluate the condition of the trees and tree wells on two blocks of Broad St. and on the entire length of East Ridgewood Ave. These blocks were selected due to their visibility in the Village. They have 109 tree wells.  They are not necessarily representative of all (205) trees/tree wells in the Central Business District but many of the issues identified in the evaluation are reflected on other streets.  The evaluation took place on July 28, 2018 from 9: AM to 4:30 PM
2. Identify problems and possible causes
3. Make recommendations for improvement as appropriate.

This evaluation is viewed as an initial step in developing a comprehensive plan for improving the vitality and longevity of trees in the CBD.

Summary of Findings

The trees and tree wells on Broad St. and Ridgewood Ave. (105) are in poor condition. 

• 51% are either dead (mostly empty tree wells) or in very poor condition (not able to be saved)
• 28% were judged to be in “good” condition but even these have some issues which could lead to premature death or risk of falling or splitting.
• 21% were judged to be of “middle” or fair health.  Not thriving but not likely to die in the next few years.  Some of these might be salvageable but in most cases they are not the right tree for the location.

The reasons for this situation are fairly identifiable but unfortunately not easy to address in the short term.

• The trees are stressed by a lack of water
      o Tree Wells do not have enough soil
      o Tree Well Design – Brick Collar
      o No watering by Village
      o Mulch compressed – sheds water
      o Vehicle damage

• The Species Planted
      o Several not suited to urban environment
      o Not disease resistant

• Little maintenance over the years
      o Little structural pruning
      o No disease Treatment?

• The renovation of the tree wells in the 1990’s
      o Elevated soil which increased bark decay
      o Mulch makes it worse

Next Steps

• Complete Report (work with Hillman and STC)
• Agree on design of test wells for 2018
      o Brick Collar
      o Cement circle
      o Extra Bricks removed
      o Soil (get specs for PH etc.) CU soil
      o Drains/water tanks
      o Mulch/grate/bricks etc.
      o Supports

• Agree on Species – and find nursery sources

• Develop planting specs for Bidding
      o Qualified Landscapers
      o Supervision
      o Detailed Specifications

• Agree on Planting Plan

CBDAC and Tree/Tree Well Improvements:

After the STC has received and agreed on Andrew Hillman’s recommendations, the improvement plan needs to be presented to the CBDAC to get their buy-in and agreement. The plan then needs to be presented to the village council. The esthetics and benefits of improved trees and tree wells need to be emphasized – an attractive treescape is good for businesses and the village.
Andrew Lowry will contact Andrew Hillman to get his recommendations on the design of the wells and also a review of available porous materials that could be used for the tree wells.
Declan Madden will contact Andrew Hillman re suitable tree species. He will also start working on the specifications for tree planting bids. The requirement that a Licensed Tree Expert (LTE) must be on site and supervise the planting process will be included in the bid specifications.
The developers of new downtown construction need to be informed that the streetscape guidelines developed using Hillman’s recommendations must be followed. Andrew Lowry will follow-up with the village on how to accomplish this.


The watering system installed in July is working well. It was extended to water more trees that are waiting to be planted. Many of these trees are species that are not suitable as street trees; it was suggested that these trees may possibly be given away to residents.
The potted trees need to be moved to a more attractive location. Placing these trees alongside the firehouse was suggested as a better place for them; Dan Cramblitt will look into this and other possible sites for the potted nursery trees.

Carolyn Jacoby spoke to Dylan Hansen, CGCIO village manager’s office, about the steps necessary to update the AaT application on the website. A Word file is needed to enable editing of the document.
Carolyn Jacoby will also contact Lisa Simms of the NJ Tree Foundation on their bidding process for tree planting.

Meeting was adjourned at 9:20PM by: Andrew Lowry.
Minutes submitted by: Melody Corcoran

Volunteer Hours: 7

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