Arborists Express Concern As Tri-State Evergreens, White Pines Turn Brown

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Homeowners and business owners are still recovering from Hurricane Sandy.

But so are Tri-State Area trees.

In Breezy Point, Queens, where construction crews are still at it, there are evergreens that are brown and dying.

“You go to Neponset, Belle Harbor, and you see all the evergreens browning,” Tom Fox told CBS 2’s John Slattery on Thursday.

Fox said he majored in botany. He said all the hedge trees, arborvitae, are gone from salt, and white pines suffered heavily from New Jersey and up through the Connecticut shoreline, where arborist Bruce Spayman is getting calls.

“They’re calling and asking, what’s wrong with my evergreen trees?” Spayman said.

Spayman is the tree warden in Greenwich. He said he thinks the browning might be from something else.

“It’s not a disease. It’s not an insect. It’s something that happens as a result of the storm,” Spayman said.

The reach of the superstorm extended a mile inland, from Long Island Sound to a park in Far Rockaway, where salt spray coated everything. Ordinarily, hurricanes are followed by heavy rain, but that wasn’t the case post-Sandy.

“The salt spray affected particular species of trees, most notably white pines, which are susceptible to salt,” Spayman said.

In some areas, white pines that weren’t killed are recovering.

“You see a little coming out from the middle,” Fox said.

Fertilizer can help, but only slow-release fertilizer. Arborists say typical high-nitrogen fertilizer can be as bad as salt.

Trees with leaves, or deciduous trees, fared better because most had already lost their leaves by the time the storm roared through.

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