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Tue May 22, 2018, 08:39 AM

I joined a guerilla mission to turn city trees into fruit trees

https://www.treehugger.com/sustainable-agriculture/i-joined-guerilla-mission-turn-city-trees-fruit-trees.html




I joined a guerilla mission to turn city trees into fruit trees
Ilana Strauss, May 21, 2018

A ragtag group of guerilla gardeners and I marched down the street with a covert mission: to turn a row of city trees into a different species of tree.

Cities plant tons of trees in parks and along the street to keep temperatures down, clean the air, and just generally make people feel less like caged animals in a concrete dystopia. New York City, for instance, is currently planting a million new trees.

These city trees tend to be decorative ó they donít bear fruit ó and some people think thatís a waste. There are so many hungry people in cities; why not plant fruit-bearing trees? Whole cities could be lined with free apples and peaches.

So people take this issue into their own hands by turning decorative trees into fruit-bearing trees. These folks are called guerilla grafters. And I joined them on one of their expeditions.




Similar posts on Treehugger:
https://www.treehugger.com/green-food/guerrilla-grafters-create-illegal-fruit-bearing-street-trees.html

https://www.treehugger.com/lawn-garden/city-fruit-working-preserve-urban-fruit-trees-and-increase-amount-fruit-harvested-them.html

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Reply I joined a guerilla mission to turn city trees into fruit trees (Original post)
NeoGreen May 2018 OP
procon May 2018 #1
babylonsister May 2018 #3
procon May 2018 #7
shraby May 2018 #4
procon May 2018 #5
Marcuse May 2018 #8
Kilgore May 2018 #2
enough May 2018 #6
DemocracyMouse May 2018 #9
Nitram May 2018 #11
DemocracyMouse May 2018 #14
Nitram May 2018 #10
packman May 2018 #12
femmocrat May 2018 #13
DemocracyMouse May 2018 #15
Nitram May 2018 #16
DemocracyMouse May 2018 #17
Nitram May 2018 #18
Retrograde May 2018 #19

Response to NeoGreen (Original post)

Tue May 22, 2018, 09:05 AM

1. That doesn't seem like a very good idea.

First, the blossoms would attract bees for pollination. Can you picture a crowded sidewalk filled with pedestrians trying to run a gauntlet of trees to escape from swarms of bees and bugs? The spent blossoms would also litter the sidewalk, attracting other pests. If the trees bear fruit, the birds and rodents will likely eat their share long before it ripens. The spoiled fruit will rot and eventually fall off, attracting other pests that leave more of a mess on the sidewalk, causing people to give the trees a wide berth and creating traffic problems. Shop owners wouldn't be happy. City services will have to come to clean up the mess, and possibly even remove the trees.

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Response to procon (Reply #1)

Tue May 22, 2018, 09:13 AM

3. From the article, a lot of

the negatives are being addressed:

Some initiatives addressing the issue have sprouted up in recent years, such as Fallen Fruit and Falling Fruit (yes, they're different), have been helping to map urban fruit trees on both public and private property. Other organizations seek to transform this so-called waste into a feast, which can be incredibly fruitful, if you'll pardon the pun.

One such organization, City Fruit, harvested almost 28,000 pounds of unused fruit from Seattle's urban fruit trees last year, and donated some 22,000 lbs to 39 different local groups, including food banks, schools, and community organizations.

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Response to babylonsister (Reply #3)

Tue May 22, 2018, 10:20 AM

7. That fruit was taken from private properties where they had permission

from the owners to harvest the unwanted fruit. City owned property is very different and the politicians are always concerned with risk management and cost. Anything that creates a potential risk is a problem, and if it involves dipping into city tax money for a needless expense, then the constituents aren't going to be happy with the waste of their tax dollars.

Other than sidewalks, it seems a better solution would be to try to use existing community gardens, or develop new ones, where fruit trees will be a better fit. Even a community park or other city land might have areas where fruit trees would be acceptable.

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Response to procon (Reply #1)

Tue May 22, 2018, 09:21 AM

4. Birds and small animals wait as we do for the fruit to ripen before they eat it.

As for bees for pollination, not that many work the tree at a time, so relax. If people are eating the fruit, not that much will fall on the sidewalk. Relax!

We leave all the fallen apples and mulberries under our trees and they just magically disappear as squirrels, and other small animals as well as the birds while it's on the trees yet enjoy the fruit. By spring there is none left.

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Response to shraby (Reply #4)

Tue May 22, 2018, 10:03 AM

5. That's just not practical for a crowded city sidewalk.

All it would take is one person ending up in the ER after getting stung by a bee, or someone getting injured from a slip and fall due to stepping on some debris, to see how this would cost more than it's worth. It would be a nightmare for shop owners to keep their frontage clean and people who have to park their cars beneath those trees would be calling city hall to complain.

There was a lovely gazebo in the backyard of a house I used to own. Someone planted grape vines around it that covered a lot of the latticework and it was shady and very nice to sit inside... until the grapes began to grow. For several months of the year the gazebo was uninhabitable due to the infestation of bugs, bees and birds and vermin that came to feed on the grapes and crap on everything. It was a stinking mess and there was almost never any grapes that were fit for human consumption.






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Response to procon (Reply #5)

Tue May 22, 2018, 10:44 AM

8. A nearby city micro park with a war monument and a peach tree ...

...has all these issues. And the bees build hives in nearby homes.

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Response to NeoGreen (Original post)

Tue May 22, 2018, 09:09 AM

2. The town I grew up in actually pulled the fruit trees out

At one time there were a number of fruit trees downtown. In the summer there were apples, peaches and pears for the taking. About 5 years ago the city removed them and planted generic ornamental trees.

The reason was the cost to clean up dropped fruit, and green apples made excellent projectiles that broke windows. According to Mom, a person slipped on a ripe peach on the sidewalk and sued the city. She thinks thats what finally did the trees in.

Hopefully it goes better for you and the city does not "prune back" the grafts.

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Response to NeoGreen (Original post)

Tue May 22, 2018, 10:12 AM

6. Fruit trees are great, but city streets need shade trees.

Some shade trees are very well suited for city conditions and add immeasurably to the life of everyone living there.

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Response to NeoGreen (Original post)

Tue May 22, 2018, 10:45 AM

9. I would take all the bee-fearing, fruit-averse comments more seriously if...

... just one of them gave half a thought to how to feed the homeless.

Here's my urban gardening formula:

Cultivate a massive resitance to the 1% taking all the fruit, bees, cars, highrises, etc., to themselves. Return to a good ol' fashioned new deal and tax the daylights out of the "landlords" (terrible, undeserving term) and return the wealth to those of us working 3 jobs to maintain this oppressive pyramid.

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Response to DemocracyMouse (Reply #9)

Tue May 22, 2018, 10:59 AM

11. Thanks, Mouse, but many of us do indeed give more than "half a thought to how to feed the homeless."

It's why we vote Democratic. We have a very well-used food bank in our city and there are a number of programs providing shelter and assistance to the homeless.

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Response to Nitram (Reply #11)

Tue May 22, 2018, 12:59 PM

14. Those are good, but so is creative urban expression which is a little off the grid.

You may not realize the motivational power of such hybrid tree exercises. It's like the beautiful twang in a blues song. There's something deliciously queer about grafting a fruit twig onto a "mainstream" tree. It's a diversity thing and the catalytic and transformative power of street culture. It's the very fact that no one is controlling such actions that makes it a form of inspired resistance. Organized action, voting for Democrats, PLUS the spontaneous actions of creative people will move us forward.

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Response to NeoGreen (Original post)

Tue May 22, 2018, 10:57 AM

10. I'm not sure this is a good idea. Fruit trees need fertilization and must be pruned on a regular

basis. They drop fruit that will have to be cleaned up. Nobody parks under the plum tree where I work because they make a huge mess in the parking lot and on a any car underneath. Shade trees are far more practical in a city.

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Response to NeoGreen (Original post)

Tue May 22, 2018, 11:45 AM

12. Good intentions - Bless them, but---

Have to agree it would cause problems . Now, cherry trees and small fruit trees, nut trees that attract birds and squirrels might be different. However, best in a park setting than urban tree areas.

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Response to NeoGreen (Original post)

Tue May 22, 2018, 11:55 AM

13. I agree with the opposers.

We had decorative pear trees planted along the front walk of one of our elementary schools. All of the problems listed above came to "fruition"!! They were so messy.

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Response to NeoGreen (Original post)

Tue May 22, 2018, 01:18 PM

15. I applaud NeoGreen and the punk urban gardening kids. You nip-and-tuck gardeners...

seem to think the punks will take over and ruin everything, drop rotten fruit and bees all over "your" city. But their creative street actions represent a fraction of any city's actual horticultural program. Perhaps what bothers you is it could lead to a larger share of glamour, attention, press? Let them try it! Think of it as a "gateway drug" into your more rational approach. But stop raining on the party! Stuff like that is like climbing trees and and licking the batter from the bowl. And it inspires others to at least THINK about the ecology of homelessness.

All this nay-saying reminds me of the line "getting so much resistance from behind" in that Buffalo Springfield song.

https://m.

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Response to DemocracyMouse (Reply #15)

Tue May 22, 2018, 03:56 PM

16. Mouse, I applaud your spirit. But I wonder if it does more to make the "gardeners" feel good about

themselves than it does to ease the plight of the poor and the homeless. I'm just wondering if all that creative energy couldn't be put to better use. Something like the community organizing that Obama did in his younger days.

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Response to Nitram (Reply #16)

Tue May 22, 2018, 04:32 PM

17. Human nature includes both the organized and the loose.

This is a classic contrast between Apollonian and Dionysian modalities. If you don't like classic analogies, try chaos theory and biology (since we're gardening):

The human body has both the hard bones (order, Apollo) and the soft, flexible muscles and nerves (the loose, Dionysus). You couldn't escape a wolf with just one or the other.

There are no organisms, let alone networks of organisms, that operate with rigid systems alone. Some, like jellyfish, are fairly loose Ė but even they have tensile strength.

If you get rid of your experimenters, your creative community, you lose your adaptability.

You also have no vision and no fun. Gotta embrace both parts of the social continuum.

Besides, isn't the looming danger of the Trumpians that they have simplistic, rigid, fascist tendencies?

We need to go high, as Obama said, and embrace the diverse range of talents and modalities of the social organism.

We should embrace all the different suggestions for dealing with food distrubution and homelessness. We should also be more insightful about how an interesting action, such as guerilla gardening, can draw people into the larger urban gardening movement.

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Response to DemocracyMouse (Reply #17)

Wed May 23, 2018, 07:59 AM

18. Reminds me of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Been a very long time since I read that!

I'll try to be more insightful.

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Response to NeoGreen (Original post)

Fri May 25, 2018, 11:04 PM

19. There are a few fruit-bearing trees on my block

one has a plum-like fruit, and there are 2 black walnuts. People can get some of the plums, but the squirrels get the walnuts before they're ripe. Result: half-eaten nuts and debris all over the place. I'm currently picking up 3-5 partially chewed avocados every day since those fuzzy-tailed rats have learned how to eat them on the tree. (Yes, I use as many as I can, and I put out surplus fruit for the neighbors, but there's a lot of fruit I can't get to, and the squirrels don't bother waiting for it to ripen).

The half-eaten fruits are a hazard, not to mention a mess. OTOH, there's a persimmon tree in a nearby park that in the past few years has developed a pattern: people get the fruits on the bottom third, the squirrels get the middle third, and bird get the ones on the top where the branches are too thin to support the rodents.

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