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Many residents tie ribbons around trees, a tree can actually be strangled by a ribbon that’s tied too tight

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photo courtesy of the Glen Rock Shade Tree Advisory Committee

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Glen Rock NJ, we picked this up from the Borough of Glen Rock Facebook page  and we though it was good advise for all.
A reminder about tree care from the Glen Rock Shade Tree Advisory Committee:

Continue reading Many residents tie ribbons around trees, a tree can actually be strangled by a ribbon that’s tied too tight

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Village of Ridgewood Tree Supervisor Has Gone Missing


the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, the word is that there is a shakeup at Village Parks department. Apparently the tree supervisor has been missing for a month and Director of Parks and Recreation Nancy Bigos is scrambling for someone to cover the position .


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Ridgewood Shade Trees and the great debate

Tree Falls Knocking Out Phones and Power on High Street in Ridgewood

file photo by Boyd Loving

August 13,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, according to The Ridgewood Shade Tree Division , they are responsible for the maintenance and care of approximately 15, 000 Village owned street trees on 100 miles of public ways, as well as additional trees and shrubs in parks and on other public grounds. This includes all aspects, such as removal, planting, and pruning. The Shade Tree Division does a tree planting for Arbor Day, which is usually the last Friday in April. The division currently offers a memorial tree/bench program to honor the memory of a friend or family member.

The great debate in the Village is how to protect and nourish Village shade trees . While many residents are opposed to clear cutting and very concerned about all the new construction in town that seems to always involve cutting down large trees , most residents also seem opposed to more village regulation as to what you can or can not do on your own property with your own trees  .

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Ridgewood Tree Ordinance Invalid Needs Re-vote by Council

New Tree Ordinance in Ridgewood

UPDATE: Due to an inadvertent omission of required information from the legal notice associated with Ordinance #3599 (the “tree ordinance”), the ordinance is invalid and a new ordinance will need to be voted on by Village Council members in July (likely to take effect in August). This was announced by Village Manager Heather Mailander during this past week’s meeting.

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Adopt-a-Tree Applications

Due by June 30th, 2017

Ridgewood NJ,  The Ridgewood Shade Tree Commission is offering village residents an opportunity to improve the beauty and value of their properties with its Adopt-a-Tree program. Property owners have until June 30th to submit an application to have a tree planted in the median (village owned property) in front of their home.

Residents are able to select a tree from an approved list of native species, specifically chosen for their ability to provide shade and flourish close to the street. If the application meets all the criteria (i.e. doesn’t interfere with underground utilities, power lines), property owners pay a fee to cover the cost of purchasing and planting the tree, which happens each autumn.

As part of the process of obtaining a new tree, residents also agree to the maintenance of the newly planted tree, such as ongoing watering, weeding, and mulching.

Don’t miss out on this wonderful opportunity to improve the air quality and curb appeal of your home. Applications can be found on the Shade Tree Commission’s website, and are due by June 30th.

Additional questions or comments can be sent to Monica Buesser,

About the Ridgewood Shade Tree Commission

The Ridgewood Shade Tree Commission’s (STC) purpose is to protect, preserve and enhance the shade trees in the village. Shade Trees are defined as trees planted next to streets on the Village’s property. The STC’s goals are to foster public-private partnerships to 1) educate the community about the contribution shade trees make to the Village environment and, 2) increase the number of shade trees in the village by actively promoting community tree planting programs.

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Village of Ridgewood Adopt-A-Tree Program

photo courtesy of Ridgewood park and rec
May 21,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Ridgewood homeowners may Adopt-A-Tree from Village of Ridgewood. This policy will enable Ridgewood property owners to purchase and maintain a tree selected from an approved species list to place on median (village owned property) in front of their home.

A fee will be charged to homeowner, some special select species of tree may cost extra. This fee will allow Ridgewood residents to buy and a plant tree.

Trees will be planted in FALL of each year. In all instances,there are restrictions on where trees can be planted for various reasons such as sight lines, underground utilities, power lines, and sidewalk conflicts.

To participate in Adopt-a-tree • Apply to the Adopt-a-tree program (APPLICATION) Submitted to Shade tree Department.

• Village official will review application, if suitable spot in median exists an appropriate tree will be planted in the FALL. Residents will have option to have Shade Tree Department select the tree or elect to choose from the approved tree list. Fees will be set and due at time of application.
• Utilities will be marked and avoided prior to planting

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Reader says I’m not investing my money in a tree that I may or may not be “allowed” to water


You’ve all fallen for the spin put out by Ridgewood Water!
We are not in a drought!
Ridgewood Water can’t pump the water fast enough, this has nothing to do with supply but with transmission!

And, please don’t tell me that I need to replant a tree for every dead tree I take down on my property.

I’m not investing my money in a tree that I may or may not be “allowed” to water.

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Is the Village of Ridgewood blaming “Global warming” ie “Climate change” on poor maintenance of shade trees ?

November 1,2016
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Ridgewood NJ,ok so now the Village is blaming “Global warming” ie “Climate change” on poor maintenance  of Village shade trees ? Be it poor planning or lack of budget the fact is Village shade trees have not been maintained ,time to focus and plan ,excuse making or excuse implying will not fix anything.

Native Plant Society of New Jersey

November 9, 2016 at 7PM  Lecture at Ridgewood Public Library

Climate Change and Urban/Suburban Trees

Dr. Jason Grabosky, professor at Rutgers University’s School of environmental and Biological Seiences, will address Climate change and Urban/Suburban Trees.

Dr. Grabosky will discuss the implications of climate change on plant selection and management, how trees occupy spaces which change over time, and how that affects other species such as insects.

There will be time for general discussion and questions and answers.

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Reader says I’d much rather have had an arborist identify potential problems and have the Village of Ridgewood pay to deal with it


file photo by Boyd Loving

Planning and accident prevention are not brain surgery, yet we just can’t do it. Here’s hoping you will approach the council, BOE, Parks-Rec-Conservation Board, Streets Dept head, and anyone else who can control this before winter sets in and it becomes increasingly difficult for tree work to be done. They can always find money for their pet projects. For my increasing number of tax dollars I’d much rather have had an arborist identify potential problems and have the town pay to deal with it, even if it involved bringing in temporary workers, than lighting up Van Neste, say. Do we always have to wait until someone is hurt? Or a BMW?

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October 5th Village of Ridgewood Work Session Recap

Village Council work session

photo by Boyd Loving

October 6,2016
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ,  Ellie Gruber and Jeanne Epiphan gave a presentation on the state of Gypsy and Kings Pond. Invasive species is a huge problem as well as a dilapidated dam.  Wildscape felt at the very least a fence should be put in place that would help to mitigate the encroachment of damaging species of plants such as Japanese Knotweed.  Tim Cronin said that permits from the DEP would be necessary but the preliminary work could begin if the council agreed.  Jeff Voigt suggested including the Eagle Scouts in the project.  A scout leader was present and said that it could be done.  The council agreed to move forward on the project beginning with the fence.

Next on the agenda was a presentation by the village engineer and resident Jeanne Johnson on the availability of a grant for the purpose of pedestrian safety and alternate transit opportunities ( bikes) for municipalities.  Better stop lights, bike lanes, refuge islands etc.  Mayor Knudsen felt that she would need more information as there had been many  complaints regarding the Garber Square do to the so called improvements ie “traffic easing” and  “suicide bike lane”. The council will read the plans and come to a decision.  The grant application is due November 10th.

Parking was next on the agenda and the council continued its discussion on how best to increase parking options in the CBD for shoppers, employees and commuters.  One idea was to try a pilot program at the Chestnut Street Lot which would use a kiosk which accepts coins, credit cards and Park Mobile.  This seemed doable and the council authorized going forward with this program. Much talk over fees throughout the town at the meters and the lots . Heather will be working on the several ordinances needed to address the changes.

It was  obvious how hard the council is working to improve parking and to mindful of the cost to the village.

Deputy Mayor Mike Sedon explained changes in our tree replacement program which includes allowing the village to examine trees on private property and if a tree had a diameter larger than 6 inches, it could not be taken down unless it was deemed diseased, dead or a hazard.  Trees that are taken down would need to be replaced by the property owner or 150 dollars paid to the village for a tree planting in another location. The hope is to replenish or depleting shade tree stock with municipal funds, grants and stricter guidelines for property owners.

A thin blue line is to be painted between two yellow lines on Linwood Avenue to show support for our police force.

Village Engineer Christopher Rutishauser seemed to contract “foot in mouth disease”,when talking about the Village tree stock he used the term Ghetto Palms to describe a tree that grows in Patterson ,saying “The Paterson Palm.  A tree that grows best in ghettos.” he would like to eradicate in Ridgewood.  It was said in a somewhat derogatory manner and both Anne and Boyd spoke about this during public comment.  They were highly offended. Other felt it was a dumb and insensitive comment.

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Many Ridgewood Residents Feel they are Being Harassed by the Village over Sidewalk Repairs

July 14,2016
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, for the second year in a row residents report being harassed by the Village of Ridgewood about their sidewalks. This is less than one year the requested repairs were already made.

While some residents contend the Village is just looking for the permit fee others like Barb Ehret Crowe on the “It takes a Village of Ridgewood Facebook page ,”The thing that is crazy to me is in most cases damage is caused by trees planted and maintained by the village yet the cost for the damage they create becomes the burden of the homeowner. Makes no sense”

Amended 9-16-2015 by Ord. No. 3498

It shall be the duty of any owner of real property abutting any public street or sidewalk in the Village of Ridgewood, at the owner’s sole cost and expense, to install, construct, repair, alter, relay, reconstruct and maintain the sidewalks in front of or abutting such property whenever such sidewalks are required as hereinafter provided or, being already installed, shall be in such state of deterioration or disrepair as to constitute a hazard to the general public using said sidewalks unless they are repaired, altered, relaid or reconstructed. In addition to the foregoing, it shall also be the duty of the owner, at the owner’s sole cost and expense, to install, construct, repair, alter, relay, or reconstruct curbs where the deterioration or damage to the same has been caused by the actions of such owner.
It shall be the duty of any owner of real property abutting any public street or sidewalk in the Village of Ridgewood, at the owner’s sole cost and expense, to maintain the interior of the tree wells located in/on the sidewalk in front of or abutting such property each year by weeding, removing debris and maintain the overall clean appearance of the tree wells and the interior of same.

Many residents claim to have already done the repairs .

Maggie Borkowski Neilson ,”It takes a Village of Ridgewood Facebook page,” I replaced last year were due to-their trees. Now they’re back saying they see another. No trees near it, no different than last year. Wasn’t a problem then but is now. Guess they missed it last year while marking up the rest of my sidewalks.”

She went on to say , “We are on Fairfield. Our entire street was done last year this time. I’m angry because I fixed all the ones they marked, plus an extra just to be sure, and now they’re coming back looking for more! Trying to double dip on the permit fees when they haven’t even completed the rest of the town once yet.”

Many felt a call to Village manager Roberta Sonenfeld would end up hearing 30 minutes lecture that how everything she has been doing is great with zero defect rate and ‘you’ the resident must be wrong?

Maggie Borkowski Neilson said after a visit to the engineering department claimed ,” They are blaming the fact that they used temps last year as to why they didn’t catch this one slab. Also said yes, my contractor had a blanket permit to do work but didn’t notify them that they worked at my specific address so that is why they are back at my property one year later.”

Many long time readers remember that following a citizen complaint registered with the Village, all sidewalks on South Irving Street were inspected in late 2010 or early 2011.  Notices of violation were subsequently mailed to many property owners and several contractors began work on repairs in the summer of 2011.


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Being around trees makes you less stressed – study


Adam Boult

6 MAY 2016

Viewing trees helps people become less stressed  – and the effect increases the more trees are visible.

A new study by researchers at University of Illinois has confirmed the long-held understanding that natural scenery can be a useful tool in helping reduce psychological stress.

The research team, led by Dr Bin Jiang, subjected 158 volunteers to mildly stressful scenarios, including preparing a speech and delivering it to a group of people, after which they were asked to perform a subtraction task in front of judges and a video camera.

After undertaking the stress-inducing activities, the volunteers used a VR headset to view one of a selection of six-minute 360-degree videos featuring urban areas with variable amounts of visible tree canopy coverage.

The participants’ levels of stress were measured by self-reported questionnaire – and the results revealed a positive, linear association between the density of trees and recovery from stress recovery

“These findings suggest that viewing tree canopy in communities can significantly aid stress recovery and that every tree matters,” researchers said.

The study is only the latest in a body of research that has demonstrated the positive psychological benefits of spending time in natural environments.–study/

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The Best Time To Plant A Tree in Ridgewood


APRIL 22, 2016


Ridgewood NJ, Several years ago, I was at my first meeting of the Glen Rock Shade Tree Advisory Committee. There had been a delay in awarding the contract for the annual town planting of trees along the streets and two committee members were debating whether to still plant, or wait until after winter.

One of the long time members of the committee leaned over and asked me, “Paul do you know when is the best time to plant a tree?’ I said I didn’t. He responded, “30 years ago.”

When you think about it, this is so true. When you plant a small tree in the ground it is really an act of faith. That it will grow — despite dangers from deer, landscapers or changing climate — into a glorious tree.

And in some way, the planting of that tree is an ultimate act of paying it forward. Every day, each of us benefits from trees that were planted 30, 50 even 100 years ago by others.

PSE&G and PSEG Long Island often get a bad rap as anti-tree because of regulations that require aggressive tree trimming. The tree trimming is designed to increase reliability and decrease local outages (the requirements stem from the great blackout of 2003 – caused by a tree). The company is instead encouraging towns to plant the right tree in the right place. For instance, in my hometown of Glen Rock, they gave us a grant to pilot the planting of smaller trees under wires.

We all know that trees are beneficial – and an almost reverence for trees has made it into our collective culture – books like The Giving Tree, the poem by Joyce Kilmer or movies like the Lorax have built on one of the country’s early tales, that of Johnny Appleseed.

It has been engrained in us that that trees are good — but I ask that you take a minute and think about the benefits of trees.

To start, trees can reduce your carbon footprint. You can plant an evergreen on the northern side of your property. When grown, it will block winter winds and lower your winter heating bills as much as 10 to 12 %.

You can plant a leaf-bearing tree on the southern side. It will provide shade in summer and cool your house reducing the need for air conditioning. When it has lost its leaves, it will let the sun through, warming your house. The US Forest Service estimates that properly placed trees reduce air conditioning needs by a third.

Trees also help with heat islands. Urban areas can be 5 to 10 degrees warmer than surrounding areas. Planting of trees has been shown to have an impact – both through the providing of shade but also as water is evaporated from leaves, they act as small air conditioners for nature.

From our early science classes, we all know that trees take in CO2 and give off oxygen. So planting of trees can also offset our carbon-spewing ways. It takes seven mature trees to remove the CO2 produced from driving 10,000 miles – assuming you get 40 miles per gallon of gas. (If you drive a car that only gets 20 miles per gallon – instead of seven, it will take 20 trees) The Department of Agriculture estimates that one acre of trees absorbs six tons of CO2 annually and provides enough oxygen to meet the needs of 18 people.

But trees clean the air in other ways as well. They remove particulates and dust from the air and pollutant gasses such as nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide and ozone — providing real benefit in terms of cleaner air in the proximity of the tree. One study has preliminarily indicated that heart disease and pulmonary disease increase as areas are devoid of trees.

They have also been shown by a study at Texas A & M to reduce stress. Not surprising since trees can enhance every human sense – they provide fragrance, stunning beauty, sounds of harbored birds, and of course the taste from their fruit.

Trees can also transform space. You can see this if you visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Holmdel NJ – tucked away next to the PNC Bank Arts Center. It is a circular stone wall memorial listing the names of those who died in that war from New Jersey. The center of the circle is terraced down to a concrete floor with a statue of fallen soldiers on one side. At the center of the circle is a large tree. With or without the tree, this scene would be moving, it would be solemn, but with the tree there is another aspect – hope.

There was more to the story I started with. After telling me that the best time to plant a tree was 30 years ago, the man sat back. A few minutes later he leaned forward again and said, “Paul, do you know the second best time to plant a tree? “ I shook my head no. He said, “Today.”