Thursday, August 1, 2013


Have you noticed the changes on Church Ave.? Many of the new plants in the tree pits and the beautiful soil are a result of the work of the recently-formed tree pit care brigade, a project of West Kensington Action Group (WKAG).

Each Tuesday at 9:30 a.m., neighborhood volunteers meet up to cultivate the soil, add compost, and plant flowers in the pits that residents or merchants commit to watering.

Much of the work includes educating residents and merchants about tree care. For example, did you know that street trees need 20 to 30 gallons of water each week during heat waves and 15 to 20 gallons throughout the rest of the summer?

Tree care also includes such basics as not walking through tree pits, not letting dogs use them as toilets, and not throwing litter in them. (Decomposed litter puts harmful chemicals into the soil.)

Jasmina Nikolov, a WKAG member and Certified Citizen Pruner, who noticed that many of our new trees were going to die without some neighborly intervention, says that "Neighbors have been working with the City for a long time to green Church Ave. It would be a shame if we can't keep these trees alive with a little TreeLC [sic]."

Jasmina applied for a grant from MillionTrees NYC; WKAG was one of just eighteen community groups to receive funding. The money has been paying for flowers, compost, tools, and tree-watering devices. The brigade has saved money by picking up local compost and soliciting plant donations from neighborhood gardeners.

Church Ave. trees are getting love, and so are the neighbors. "It's a lot of fun to come out here, help the trees survive, and grow new friendships," says resident Jane Wong. One member claims that digging through the soil has been a great complement to her diet: she has lost one pants size since starting.

"The more people in the brigade, the more we can do!" says Bridget Elder.

Join the tree pit care brigade each Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. on Church Ave. We will post the location each week here on the KARMABrooklyn Blog.

Ways you can help this new green life survive:

  1. Come out to the tree pit brigade on Tuesday mornings. Join them THIS Tuesday, August 6th, at 9:30, at the tree pit in front of the Flatbush Jewish Center on E. 5th Street at Church Ave. The weather was lovely this week and is only improving.
  2. Donate plants from your garden.
  3. Help pick up mulch or compost.
  4. Help plan our big tree pit care day on September 15th!
Contact Jasmina1 [at] gmail [dot] com for more information.