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Co-ops in Jackson Heights adopting street trees

By Len Maniace

The Greystones Garden Association recently agreed to join a city program that is creating a volunteer core to care for street trees as the city moves toward its goal of planting one million new trees.

The group voted to officially adopt all 35 trees on 80th Street between 37h Avenue and 35th Avenue, becoming the second co-op organization to adopt adjacent street trees. (See story below about Dunolly Gardens.)

Individuals or groups can adopt one or more trees by contacting the Million Trees program. Those who participate, agree to take care of the trees they adopt, breaking up compact soil, watering, weeding and reporting any problems that they cannot handle. Participation carries no legal liability.

For more information, contact the Green Agenda for Jackson Heights, a committee of JHBG, which is helping to coordinate the effort here. (See the committee’s Facebook page to leave a message, or else send an e-mail to

The citizen tree care effort is part of Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC 2030, an environmental sustainability effort to battle global warming and to make New York City a more pleasant place to live.

Working closely with JHBG, the Greystones gardeners began caring for their trees two years ago. The volunteers removed bricks, broke up compacted soil and added compost and mulch to the surrounding soil. Since the spring of 2011, they have turned many of the tree pits on the street into tree gardens by planting perennials and annuals.

Greening at Dunolly Gardens

By Ashley Cruce

In Scottish, Dunolly means “on the knoll” or small hill. With the efforts of an all-volunteer garden committee of 25+ members, our “Small Hill in the Heights” has flourished in recent years. As the only residential development in Jackson Heights that covers an entire city block, Dunolly’s six buildings take up only 45% of the 126,000 square-foot lot, leaving ample green space for landscaped gardens, a central courtyard with cherry trees, benches and tables, and other green spaces and shaded seating areas.

Our gardens feature a diversity of perennials, flowering bulbs, shrubs, and trees, and several large deciduous trees. The committee organizes fundraisers, such as Flea Markets and an annual Garden Party for residents and friends. The commitment to organic gardening, greening efforts and conservation is strong at Dunolly Gardens.

In 2009, we began outdoor composting using two Earth Machine bins with guidance and training from the NYC Compost Project in Queens (hosted at Queens Botanic Garden). Garden committee members contribute food scraps and we compost autumn leaves from the property, keeping significant amounts out of the NYC waste stream. The finished compost helps beautify our gardens. We also look forward to contributing to the JHBG Green Agenda‘s planned community compost site. To conserve water, we acquired a 50-gallon rain barrel last autumn and will add more this summer.

We recently expanded our children’s garden by building four raised beds for vegetables, herbs, and edible flowers. Dunolly children and teens have been working hard to learn key skills, such as: container planting, weeding, mulching, watering, composting, and organic pest control (i.e. ladybugs).

Dunolly is proud to be the first co-op to officially adopt all 60 of the city street trees surrounding our property. We removed the tree pit bricks, aerated the soil, mulched with Christmas tree mulch, and water during dry spells. We are fortunate to have a citizen pruner on our garden committee to oversee our tree stewardship efforts.

We are proud to contribute to the greening of Jackson Heights, and join with our neighbors in preserving our neighborhood as the “garden in the city” it was meant to be.