Stormwater management: Enhanced tree pits

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An enhanced tree pit in Rego Park (Queens), NYC. The layers of permeable material beneath the surface, and the native plants, filter storm water and slow it down so it doesn’t overwhelm the sewer system.

My mother’s neighborhood in Queens has many enhanced tree pits, one of several techniques NYC uses to help prevent stormwater from overwhelming an ancient and inadequate sewer system. This one, and another just half a block away, are planted with a nice variety of trees, shrubs, perennials, and grasses, mostly native. There are red maple, black chokeberry, a joe pye weed, a grass that was hard to identify but I believe is prairie dropseed, and a milkweed, in addition to some nonnatives like catmint, and some weeds. The chokeberries were full of fruit. Maybe the city birds don’t recognize the fruits. The Bergen County birds eat mine the second they ripen. The milkweed was full of ripe seeds. Maybe they’ll land in nearby parks and backyards.

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This enhanced tree pit holds milkweed with ripe pods, in additional to numerous other native plants.

This website and video explain how to construct enhanced tree pits as well as some other stormwater-management devices. Wouldn’t these be great here in Bergen County, where we certainly have aging and inadequate sewers and a stormwater management problem?

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