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Experts Agree Centuries-Old Teaneck Tree Should Be Removed

County expected to remove massive oak within weeks.

UPDATE: Removal of Centuries-Old Teaneck Tree Pushed Back

A centuries-old red oak tree at Cedar Lane and Palisade Avenue is set to be removed by the end of the month after independent experts agreed with a county report that the tree posed a safety risk, officials said Wednesday.

A tree expert hired by Bergen County concluded the oak was decaying and presented a hazard to people and property, Patch reported last week. Experts hired by the Puffin Foundation, which donated money to preserve the tree, agreed with the county's report after an inspection on Tuesday, said Jeanne Baratta, chief of staff at the Bergen County Executive’s Office.

Officials planned to remove the tree May 30 or 31, Baratta said. The Puffin Foundation’s experts are also exploring “cloning” the tree.  

William R. Comery, the county's tree expert, concluded the oak had widespread decay, 40 percent of its roots had been removed through roadway development along Cedar Lane and a lightning strike about five years ago had caused long-term damage.

"This tree, in my professional opinion, must be removed as soon as possible. The tree poses a real hazard to people and property. There is no treatment or method of care that will eliminate the hazard that this tree poses. Removal is the only option," Comery said in his report.  

Officials cited the dangers posed to passing motorists, pedestrians and congregants of property-owner Netivot Shalom, which has a children’s play area below the large tree.

County officials had planned to cut down the tree by Memorial Day, but held off to allow Puffin’s experts to conduct an inspection.

The massive oak was inspected in a review of county-maintained trees prompted by Hurricane Sandy, Baratta said.

Patrick Allen, a tree expert hired by the Puffin Foundation, agreed with the county's findings but said better upkeep over the years could have helped the tree, NorthJersey.com reported.

Months earlier, Teaneck designated the 250 to 350-year-old oak as a historic site. Residents have long fought to preserve the tree and the county took over its maintenance through a conservation easement in 2011. The Puffin Foundation also donated $100,000 to help care for the tree.

Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg’s late husband Irwin successfully fought to save the tree when a developer wanted to build a parking lot on the property. , on Tuesday remembered asking workers handling the Cedar Lane redevelopment about the roots, according to the report.

"They said ‘absolutely,’ they are aware of it," she said in the report. "And they obviously weren’t.”

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Who Is John Galt May 22, 2013 at 03:24 PM
Now what say ye, oh cynical conspiracy theorists of Teaneck? Chop it down already!! It isn't that serious!
Art Vatsky May 22, 2013 at 06:44 PM
Maybe the tree is telling us it is time to go. It certainly seems like the various tree experts have come to that conclusion.
zizi May 22, 2013 at 06:50 PM
Wouldn't it be better if the puffin foundation donated that $100,000 to help the tax payers who subsidize its existence......
larry May 22, 2013 at 07:03 PM
Yes it iS serious!!! How dare you make light of this important tree. I still believe that with all it's "supposedly" damaged roots and supposed decay ( I am skeptical about both) that it is STILL stronger than many other trees of its size. I don't see anyone inspecting other large trees for "safety" reasons and chopping them down. Hundreds of large trees fell during Sandy, and 2 prior storms in Teaneck, while THIS tree held firm!! Now, suddenly, it has become weak. Give me a break - there is still something "funny" going on here!!! Was the Puffin Foundation's $100,000 donation for the tree's care in vain? Even if it falls (Which I HIGHLY doubt will ever happen) - why are children's safety concerns mentioned - children will NOT be playing on the grounds during a storm - nor will there be pedestrians strolling about during a storm. This tree deserves to remain and it poses less danger than many other large trees. Passing motorists, during a major storm, will face many dangers much more serious than this tree. It made it 300 years and obviously withstood many storms, winds, etc., - SHAME on those who favor cutting down this tree - hiding behind feeble excuses instead of telling the truth.
Who Is John Galt May 22, 2013 at 07:23 PM
No, not that serious at all and quite honestly at this point its all just a little silly.
Who Is John Galt May 22, 2013 at 07:33 PM
I was born and raised in Teaneck and have probably passed that tree nearly everyday of my life, but I never gave it a second thought prior to the tree huggers getting into a tizzy over it. It's a nice tree, but in the end it is just a tree. There are many other nice trees and its existsnce really won't matter in the big scheme of things.
JamesTS May 22, 2013 at 07:34 PM
VERY silly.. I cant wait to read the articles on here about protestors trying to stop the County. Seriously people.. conspiracy about a tree???? only in teaneck!!!!
delgado May 23, 2013 at 02:18 AM
Memorial Day, the destruction of a 300 year old Teaneck tree and the birth of Teaneck Community Activist Jason Castle political career!
Esther Sandrof May 23, 2013 at 02:45 AM
With the tree gone - the site will be a perfect location for a Holocaust memorial.
John Santaella May 23, 2013 at 02:48 AM
You speak reasonably but hysteria rules the day.
John Santaella May 23, 2013 at 02:48 AM
Cut the tree down already.
Legal Notice May 23, 2013 at 11:26 AM
The only old things worth removing in Teaneck are the 60s old type Matt Feldman era Liberal professional tax and spend politicians that ruined the state of NJ
Barbara Ley Toffler May 23, 2013 at 04:27 PM
Wow. Never realized that Mayor/Senator Matty Feldman (never called Matt!) was a professional tax and spender!! Matty (and his wife Muriel were friends of my parents), was certainly a polished politician. But he made things happen in Teaneck -- in the Jewish community in the african-American community -- and, most importantly, in Teaneck as a whole. He was truly a uniter and a doer. We need to fight for his like on our Council!
Lisa Dee May 23, 2013 at 05:10 PM
Barbara, I too remember hearing what a wonderful positive force Matty Feldman was for all people. To blame Matty when it was Christy Whitman who lied to get elected then borrowed money from state pension funds to fill gaps that is who and what bankrupted our state. Jim Florio told the truth they got rid of him and put Christy Whitman in who lied about the facts and busted a whole in state pension funds that did not exist. Jim Florio was guilty of telling the truth so they ran him out of town.
Barbara Ley Toffler May 23, 2013 at 09:41 PM
Maybe next May in Teaneck, truth can win!!
zizi May 23, 2013 at 10:32 PM
What if we just simply get rid of the pension plans........ obviously going forward...... That should help......
Jacob May 23, 2013 at 11:46 PM
I certainly hope so. Just as it did last May.
Tee Smyth May 24, 2013 at 05:37 AM
Touche.
Barbara Ley Toffler May 24, 2013 at 12:24 PM
5 of our present Councilmembers have close ties and received money from now-indiicted, recognized corrupt entities. The clean sweep in Hackensack may well help the truth come out in Teaneck, clean up the mess here, and get something approaching an honest decent government. But it will take hard work and getting the vote out.
anon May 24, 2013 at 05:00 PM
The tree has a pension plan? Actually, how about Loretta explain why she is still working and collecting a pension for the same job? Same goes for Essex County's DiVencenzo.
Stevie May 24, 2013 at 06:09 PM
"5 of our present Councilmembers have close ties and received money from now-indiicted, recognized corrupt entities." And you worked for Arthur Andersen, which was found guilty of criminal charges in regard to Enron. What's your point?
Noah Cohen May 24, 2013 at 07:14 PM
Everyone, please keep the discussion on topic. Thanks.
Esther May 24, 2013 at 09:38 PM
Why don't they do a fundraiser and sell keychains made from the tree's wood? This way they may recoup some of the money that went down the drain as a result of this exercise in stupidity.
delgado May 25, 2013 at 01:25 AM
Barbara, comments like this and comments by the new president of bergen grassroots only strentghen Teanecks affirmation on why you were thrown out of office. Leave your snarky innuendos behind, just like your days of Arthur Anderson.
Barbara Jacoby May 25, 2013 at 05:01 PM
Did the tree get xrayed? Yes there is a way to see how badly the tree is inside. Did a couple of tree companies do this testing? This tree is no more dangerous than the hundreds that fell down during the storms. This tree remains quite in tact. A piece of history is a piece of history. If it must come down, I agree that the healthy parts be made into keepsakes and sold. Is this public land or does it belong to the temple? Except for tons of traffic and fumes, maybe a nice garden (herb, etc) could be planted (if they get the soil treated, if the tree is rotted then the soil isn't good either). Just trying to find a solution.
Joe Godin May 26, 2013 at 12:09 PM
Whether you are on the right or on the left I think we can all agree it is sad when a 300 year-old creature must be felled. I agree with the notion of giving the dead tree a second life and if there's enough community support, I would be willing to hold a fundraiser at Smokey Joe's. We could use some of the oak to smoke our BBQ and then host a dinner to benefit local environmental programs. Kind remarks only, please.
Who Is John Galt May 26, 2013 at 10:12 PM
Hahaha...hilarious!!! The comments get weirder and weirder!!!
Who Is John Galt May 26, 2013 at 10:21 PM
Smokey Joe, what you smokin'?
Joe Godin May 27, 2013 at 02:04 AM
Oak and cherry wood, primarily. Apple for some of our poultry products and our new beef bacon.

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