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Friday, September 13, 2013

About the Brickell trees

Courtesy of Brickell Unites to
Save Trees Facebook page
I received an email regarding the trees on Brickell from Comm. Marc Sarnoff's office after posting the last story, it says: 

"Respectfully, Comm. Xavier Suarez is misinformed. And unfortunately many of the people who signed the petition were not only misinformed, but mislead.

"The petition didn't mention anything about the replacement of the trees: 237 mature 20 foot trees to replace the 70 sick, damaged or crowded trees."

I get that and I do understand that, but I have traveled all over and it seems that only Miami destroys any sort of tree to replace them with other trees, no matter what shape they are in. I have never seen this anywhere else before.

Here's the response that Mark Spanioli, the Capital Improvement Director, is providing anyone who asks about the Brickell tree project:

The Brickell Avenue Beautification Project was carefully crafted and well thought out. The 70 trees (of the 168 that exist) being removed are being done so for a variety of reasons:

1. Health - some trees slated to be removed were struggling due to age, hollow trunks, disease, or they were the wrong tree for the environment it was planted in.

2. Structure - poor structure can make a tree prone to failure which is very dangerous along such a heavily traveled roadway.

3. Damage - car impacts or previous storms have damaged some trees beyond saving.

4. Proximity to roadway - over the years some trees were planted by others and allowed to establish themselves too close to the roadway, creating crowded conditions or a road hazard.

5. Impact on other trees - Clustering of trees can impact the health and canopy of a tree group, and removal of a single tree from that Cluster can make for a healthier canopy.

David Gjertson, PLA, ASLA, is a senior Landscape Architect and certified arborist, who, along with Certified Arborist Peter Keenan, took great care to work with the surrounding environment in making a plan that will add 237 new trees to the median including more or less 10 differnet varieties in order to maintain, or add diversity to, the existing canopy.

The net gain will be 167 trees added to the Brickell median from SW 15 Road to SW 25 Road, and a much healthier and diverse canopy over the entire distance. The new trees being installed are field grown and have a minimum height of 20 feet (2 stories tall). The types of trees being installed are oaks, gumbo limbos, royal poincianas, mahoganies, pink tabebuias, black olives, medjool date palms and other small variety trees. In addition, the City is installing a new irrigation system to support the trees and the installation of over 1000 shrubs and ground coverings throughout.

This project was properly noticed by the City of Miami Capital Improvement Dept., the City's NET Dept., and was vetted by neighbors who participate in the Brickell Homeowners Assn. The plan has also been written about by local press, including Miami Today. While at this stage of the project - the removal of trees before new, healthy trees are planted in their place - may seem harsh, the final product will be a dramatic improvement to the tree canopy along Brickell Avenue.

For linking to this one story, just click on the time it was posted & just this story will open for sharing - only through social media. Not copying and pasting.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too bad Brickell residents didn't realize that one day Sarnoff would mess up their neighborhood too. Now that Wynwood has learned, and Brickell is learning, all I can think is where were these residents during his re-election? If anyone outside of those in the grove who know and hate him, and those members of the center grove mafia who blindly support him had come out to vote, we'd live in a better city right now.

September 13, 2013 10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Other than the posts in the website I am hard-pressed to locate an article in the local press regarding the removal of the trees in the median along Brickell Ave. The Herald has been SILENT except for publishing a letter to the editor 3 days ago. I can not find any mention of it in Miami Today (please post a link or copy if you have it). The website of the Brickell Homeowners Association ( does include information on the tree removal but that also seems to have been added/updated as a result of the outcry. It did not come up in search results early last week. Whether it was properly noticed or not, clearly the community was not aware of it until they started chopping down trees. BTW, noticing something in the middle of the summer is not right given that a large percentage of the residents are out of town. A project of this scope should have been communicated in a series of public meetings with local residents. The fact that they meet with the BHA is good but not enough as far as I'm concerned.

September 13, 2013 11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When the City or County decides to remove a significant number of mature trees within our community, there should be an extremely good reason for doing it. The arguments made by the arborists are subjective and should be open to discussion. We have seen "arborists" come into our community and argue very effectively for the removal of a tree on behalf of their client(s) because the tree happens to be in the "wrong" place. Invariably it comes down to the tree being diseased or it's "poor" structure is imbalanced or is not an ideal shape. Give me a break! The trees being removed have withstood Hurricanes Andrew, Katrina and Wilma, cars running into them and trucks breaking off their branches and they still didn't fall over. If a branch breaks off, clean up the break and seal the damaged area so the tree is not vulnerable to future disease but don't cut the tree down because a branch may break off in the future!!! WIth that logic we should cut all the trees in Miami down because they might fall down or lose a branch. The argument that we are getting more trees also doesn't wash. Don't get me wrong, I'm delighted that they are planting 237 new trees. The only problem is that there are many other places in our city than Brickell Av in dire need of trees and canopy. We have (had) a mature canopy along Brickell. Leave it alone! Also, remember many of those trees were here before we were. That stretch of Brickell Av was a sand road through the coastal ridge hammock that was subsequently paved and expanded with a median, sidewalks and lighting. Each time trees were removed until we were left with the remaining mature gumbos , mastics, stoppers and pigeon plums that are being removed. It's the mentality of our commissioners and public officials that many of the residents take issue with though, i.e..we know better than you do. Another example of the arrogance of our elected officials and frivolous spending of our taxpayer's money.

September 13, 2013 11:26 AM  
Anonymous Bob Deresz said...

The trees, plants and bushes in Miami, Miami-Dade and the State DOT are sold, planted and maintained (ha! ha! ha!) by independent, private companies.
It is of their best interest to employ personnel to go out and search for work to spend our tax money on, virgin grass, open areas and plots that they planted 3 or 4 years ago that are now overgrown and therefore look like wild brush, much of which is now dead. They then propose these to the Government employee that is looking after his own job security.
It is amazing what I have observed driving in south Florida. The hundreds of millions of dollars spent on 25’ tall royal palms, medium size palms, sea grape trees and ferns planted, torn up and replanted beyond what the eye can even see.
I love trees and plants, but why do our streets and highways need to look better manicured than the best estates in Turnberry Isle and the most expensive gated communities?
Spend our tax money on wider highways to accommodate the number of cars they need to be designed for.

September 13, 2013 11:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will anyone ask if this project is already funded? This seems like a very expensive project so it makes me wonder...

September 13, 2013 1:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The following was posted in the comments section of


Tuesday, September 17th, 7:00PM
at 1925 Brickell Avenue (Brickell Place Phase II)
C Building Lobby (Media Center)


We will meet at 5pm before the meeting in mass at the sidewalk of 1925 Brickell Avenue as we do every afternoon to invite everyone to participate in this meeting. Please share this information with everyone you know. We need as many people as possible so we can show our Commissioner that the majority of the residents do not want the trees removed unnecessarily.

Please share this our Facebook with everyone you know. There is a link there to sign the online petition:

September 13, 2013 2:04 PM  
Anonymous Charles Corda said...

.."unfortunately many of the people who signed the petition were not only misinformed, but mislead."

This is Sarnoff's Standard Response when anyone questions his actions.. Seems like the entire City is "Misinformed and Mislead" on just about everything Sarnoff touches.. Hmm ..makes me wonder who is actually "mislead and misinformed.."

September 13, 2013 3:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tree removal-conspiracy-Sarnoff-hate-mislead; what kinds of folks
constantly react with such negative vile when afforded the opportunity? Bullies & cowards. If this is a conspiracy to do good then that's good, right?

September 14, 2013 11:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have they considered pollarding the weak trees?This is done in Europe to mature trees. The idea is to severely cut back the canopy. Regrowth of new branches is rapid. This reduces the sail effect. I do this to the trees on my property in Minnesota. I cut an oak back to the main trunk because of diseased limbs, which was caused by severe crowding. Darwinism means only one big tree survives, so the other one is made smaller, but it is still forty feet tall, instead of sixty. It will now always be junior to the bigger tree, so both get enough air and light.

September 15, 2013 12:08 PM  
Anonymous Dexter said...

Ironic. I cut down a DEAD tree in my own yard, and the City Oye Miami threatened to cite me for not having a Permit.

September 15, 2013 12:14 PM  
Blogger GroveTreeWatch said...

Last year, the City was successful in its campaign to remove trees in the Grove by proclaiming them "sick," "in poor health" and therefore "dangerous". This was a winning formula for them because it enabled a good argument for removal whenever TreeWatch appealed the intended decision in front of the Historic Preservation Board. The HPB would have no recourse but to accept the removal of a potentially dangerous tree.

11 so-called dangerous-potential-hazard trees are now awaiting execution on Commodore Plaza. While they wait for the chainsaws, they still humbly provide shade to passersby, sidewalk cafes and parked cars.

And now, the City has come up with a whole new reason to replace trees, "crowded trees" that is. Crowded=Bad. What would John Muir think?

And it makes one think, "If 75 trees are "crowded" where do they plan to put the 237 replacements? And how big are they.

The City is calling this a Beautification Project. We kind of see it as "Redecorating at the expense of our trees."

September 15, 2013 9:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon September 14, 2013 11:03 AM
"Bullies and cowards" now that's not very nice to call someone who does not happen to like the fact that you:
1. Chopped down 75 mature trees that had withstood hurricanes, cars and other urban assaults until now.
2. Hired Arborists who are not local to south Florida; one from Atlanta, GA and the other from Sarasota. (What qualified arborists in Miami or none who would write up the report you were seeking?)
3. Spent estimated $1.5 million to replace mature native canopy trees. Frivolous spending when other parts of the City are in dire need of canopy trees.
4. Installed an irrigation systems were none was needed. The mature natives that were growing there were perfect examples of Xeriscaping: landscaping and gardening in ways that reduce or eliminate the need for supplemental water from irrigation.
The list could go on...
"If this is a conspiracy to do good then that's good, right?" Wrong...not when "good" is not so good when the light of day shines on it. This project is an example of someone spending someone else's money without really caring what it costs or whether you really needed to spend the money in the first place.

September 15, 2013 10:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr Gjertson is landscape architect in Florida. He never stated he was an arborist. You are misinformed.

September 17, 2013 10:47 PM  

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