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Neighbor to Neighbor: Which are worse for trees, insects or us?

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From time to time, while shopping, particularly in Queens food stores, I see people hastily traveling through the aisles, picking up whatever might strike their fancy without any hesitation, except when they are considering fruit, small fruit, especially berries and grapes, are vulnerable to theft, or spoilage. There are The Tasters, The Squeezers and those who recklessly toss an unwanted piece away to get at something more appealing Small children are often "rewarded" by the shopper with whatever she, or he, feels is the right of "free samples."An equally disturbing habit, that, unfortunately, is not unusual, is those who "dump" what they decide they don't want, or can't afford. Please...Put it back where you found it.Every time someone stashes something-particularly perishable items such as meat, fish, ice cream, and other frozen foods--that person is potentially helping to raise prices in that store and causing potentially dangerous spoilage of food. Leaving the store, you see shopping carts abandoned helter skelter, and sometimes stuffed with unwanted packaging that may travel from one place to another on the will of the wind. Packaging is part of your purchase. It deserves to go home with you and be disposed of properly.As we leave the parking lot and travel toward home, or to our next destination, we don't always see our green spaces in pristine condition. Beverage cans are pushed into plantings, along with papers and other debris. Branches are broken off bushes and trees with abandon. In one case, an old tire filled with water was hung on a young tree not yet a year in the ground. I tried in vain to remove it, but it was too heavy. Why anyone would want to do something like that I can't imagine. It must have been a lot of trouble just to damage a tree that could, if the future is kinder to it, help clean the air and beautify our community.Trees are near and dear to my heart. One small seed can create such things of beauty and worth, I wonder that everyone in the world does not properly appreciate them. We should all cherish then like the wonders they are. Sometimes, like giants trying to protect us from poisons in the air, and from extremes of heat, they need us to help them. We are responsible for, at least, reporting to the city information line 311 any noticeable damage to trees, such as broken portions, holes, sawdust, or attachments such as girdings or signs that could damage the street trees. It is not too much trouble, particularly when trees are in their winter dormancy, to look at it carefully for such damage. You may want to invite the state Department of Agriculture to inspect trees on your property, since we are still very much in the quarantine zone for Asian Longhorned Beetles. The enemy beetles are 3/4 to 1 1/4 inches long with a jet black body and mottled white spots on the backs. The long antennae are 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 times the body length with distinctive black and white bands on each segment. Exit holes made by the mature beetles leaving trunk or large branch of a tree are round and 3/8 inch in diameter or larger. If you find any such evidence, please call 311 promptly. Remember, the Department of Parks & Recreation tries to care for approximately 2.5 million trees, half a million of which are street trees that could be inspected readily by the public. We'd certainly appreciate your help, and so would the trees.One more reminder. Since we are in that aforementioned quarantine zone, tree prunings will not be picked up by the sanitation department. When you have tree prunings, call 311. They will contact the department of Parks & Recreation who will give you a date when they will arrange to have the prunings ground for disposal.

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