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Bellerose groups want tree prune job completed

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Bellerose civic leaders were scratching their collective heads after they said a company hired to prune neighborhood street trees never finished the job.

"Some of these trees, people have been waiting for 15 years or longer to have them pruned," said Mike Augugliaro of the Queens Colony Civic Association. "The neighborhood's been overdue. We've been waiting for years to do this."

Lucy DeFrancheschi, a North Bellerose Civic Association member, said Asplundh Tree Expert Co. put signs on neighborhood blocks late last month saying trees would be pruned, but it took the signs down minutes later.

An Asplundh spokesman said the signs can be removed for a number of reasons.

A spokeswoman for the city Parks Department said the agency was looking into the situation.

Augugliaro said the company did an inadequate job on the trees it did cut, noting that dead branches from a tree on his neighbor's sidewalk were not removed.

He said an employee of the company told him they did not remove the branches because it received complaints that it took too many branches off trees it worked on in Astoria.

"They didn't do it right," Augugliaro said.

Fred Kress, a Rosedale resident and certified citizen tree pruner, said Asplundh "gets loads of city contracts," but the company does not trim trees properly.

"What they do is very contrary to what we've been taught," Kress said. "This is not rocket science, but it is a science."

North Bellerose Civic Association member Ellen Kahne said an arborist from the company said their contract was canceled by the city because it objected to how it was trimming the trees.

"He said it was some sort of political thing," Kahne said.

But an Asplundh spokesman said he had no knowledge that the company's contract was cancelled.

"As far as I know, we have a contract with them," he said.

Kahne said she called 311 the last two years to get a company to trim her father's tree on 82nd Street.

"Is somebody going to come and do this care for this tree that I've been complaining about for three years?" Kahne asked. "I want this trimmed.

"I'm looking forward to decent service from someone who's going to trim the trees," she said.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.

Posted 6:40 pm, October 10, 2011
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