Schuylkill River Park Community Garden                                                                             CCRA Green Committee          

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  • 01 Feb 2023 10:36 AM | Anonymous

    Written by Susan Kahn

    It was Kermit the Frog who once said, “It’s not easy being green,” but it could have been said about the Schuylkill River Park trees. Park visitors in the past week may have noticed that workers were busy pruning dead branches and removing five dead trees, most notably a stand of Tulip Poplars near 25th Street. These were just a few of 18 dead trees identified in the course of last fall’s inventory undertaken by the Arboretum. Thanks to the generosity of the Center City Residents’ Association, the Arboretum was able to tackle the first phase of the work identified by this study.

    All five of the trees removed showed significant decay despite their relative youth. (See photos below.) In fact, the removed Tulip Poplars were only a quarter the age that these trees typically reach under ideal conditions. Happily, much of the wood that was removed enjoys a second life. At the nature play area at the back of the playground, tree “cookies,” stumps and twisty branches inspire imaginative play and problem solving. Dead branches reduced to wood chips will be used to support the remaining park trees.

    Yet, it is worth asking why these trees and many other of our park trees enjoy such short lifespans. The answer lies predominantly in the park soil. Compaction is one of the biggest health risks to trees and is caused by excessive traffic or activity on the soil around the root zone. Compaction or compression occurs because excessive weight can press the soil particles together very tightly reducing the pore space between them which holds air and water necessary to trees’ vital functions. And our park soil is extremely compacted, not only from current uses but also from historical ones.

    Beginning in 1800, the land on which the park sits was heavily industrialized. The area served the ship and barge traffic up and down the river with warehouses and brick works. This use transitioned to rail yards, slaughterhouses, and trash yards by the end of the century. By the middle of the 20th Century, most industry had abandoned the banks of the tidal Schuylkill. What remained consisted of transportation infrastructure, including rail lines that crisscrossed the area in and around the community garden. Shortly before the establishment of the park in 1966, the bowl area actually served as a paved parking lot. When the park was established, topsoil was simply deposited on top of heavily compacted soil and paving material.

    As if the historical uses didn’t result in enough soil compaction, the current uses of the park continue to compact the soil. The park is enjoyed not only by people who traverse the paved pathways. The green areas are also enjoyed by picnicking families, running school children, frisbee playing young people and dog walkers, further compacting the soil in which the trees grow.

    The answer is not to rope off the park from active use. Rather it is to recognize these challenges when choosing new trees and caring for existing ones. This means choosing varieties of new trees that can better tolerate compacted soil. It means relieving tree stresses by excavating soil away from root collars and removing girdling roots. Finally, it means applying liberal amounts of mulch to the root zone of our trees.

    Arboretum volunteers are working to create healthy conditions for the next generation of park trees. Come out to help plant, spread mulch and grow the neighborhood canopy!


  • 26 Jan 2023 3:33 PM | Travis Oliver (Administrator)

    A new report from Center City District/Central Philadelphia Development Corporation (CCD/CPDC), Pedestrian Vitality: Momentum Continues to Build, documents that pedestrian activity in the core of Center City continued to increase during the last quarter of 2022 and into the first two weeks of January 2023.

    Center City District | Pedestrian Vitality: Momentum Continues to Build (centercityphila.org)

  • 20 Jan 2023 12:48 PM | Travis Oliver (Administrator)

    While the Year of the Tiger was seen as a powerful period of action, and at times, impulse, The Rabbit sign is expected to usher in a softer period on self-reflection.

    Lunar New Year: It’s the Year of the Rabbit and, finally, we can all chill (nbcnews.com)

  • 19 Jan 2023 9:31 AM | Travis Oliver (Administrator)

    After being discontinued in 2021 because of cost, the popular service was reinstated under a new model.

    Philadelphia library reinstates Kanopy free movie streaming - On top of Philly news (billypenn.com)

  • 12 Jan 2023 1:35 PM | Travis Oliver (Administrator)
    • A new tool to help is getting some use. In March, the city rolled out an option on the United Way’s 211 hotline. Available only in Philly, it connects people to anti-violence resources, and offers followup check-ins.

    Hundreds use new 211 hotline; Why Mummers switched channels; Explosion levels Port Richmond houses | Morning roundup - On top of Philly news (billypenn.com)

  • 12 Jan 2023 10:42 AM | Travis Oliver (Administrator)

    Mark your calendars and start a training schedule, because the 2023 Independence Blue Cross Broad Street Run will take place on Sunday, April 30! The nation’s largest road race, traditionally held on the first Sunday of May, is moving back one week for this year only.

    New date, same great race: the 2023 Independence Blue Cross Broad Street Run takes place April 30 | Philadelphia Parks & Recreation | City of Philadelphia

  • 09 Jan 2023 9:59 AM | Travis Oliver (Administrator)

     A heavy police presence gathered near Philadelphia City Hall Monday morning after reports of gunshots.

    Several squad cars have blocked off an area at the intersection of 15th and JFK near Dilworth Park around 8 a.m. as commuters were on their way to work.

    Shots were reportedly fired in the area, where several shell casings, a gun and knife were seen marked by police on the streets.

    One person was taken into custody at the scene, but police have yet to release any further details.

    Traffic was blocked off the area for more than an hour as police investigated but has since reopened.

    Video
  • 06 Jan 2023 3:27 PM | Travis Oliver (Administrator)

    Face masks are now back in some area schools. Students in Philadelphia and Camden are covering up for two weeks. Lots of holiday gatherings and travel had people crowded together inside where respiratory illnesses easily spread.

    Now, officials are trying to prevent a big surge of infections.

    Officials concerned with post-holiday surge as COVID, RSV cases rise - CBS Philadelphia (cbsnews.com)

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