Thousands of Trees Uprooted By Hurricane Sandy

by mphippen 20. November 2012 14:14

TruPulse 360 Laser Rangefinder Can Help Replant Trees Better and Smarter.

Hurricane Sandy a Category 1 variety, came ashore and administered unprecedented destruction in the New York, New Jersey area. Like falling domino's one uprooted tree would take out three or four others on its way to smashing somebody's house. In the Associated Press article posted on '' it documents the tens of thousands of trees uprooted along the eastern seaboard. 10,000 were lost in NY City alone! "…Doug Blonsky, President of the Central Park Conservancy said among the hundreds of Central Park trees that became Sandy's victims were a popular 120-year-old swamp white oak near the Mall and a willow next to the Lasker pool!" These were landmarks!

"When trees go down that have lived a long life and been so beneficial, it's terrible when they cause injury to people and property,” said Nina Bassuk, program leader at the Urban Horticulture Institute at Cornell University. "We have to replant better and do it smarter." For example, she continued, "Shorter trees like hawthorns and crabapples should be planted below electric wires."

According to the City of New York Parks & Recreation all approved tree planting permit applicants must follow the guidelines below. Any tree work improperly performed or otherwise not in accordance with these specifications will be subject to restitution and penalty at the direction of Parks & Recreation and at the expense of the property. Here is the spacing requirements listed in the City’s planting guidelines:


The following guidelines shall be observed when citing tree pits along sidewalks. These guidelines generally follow regulations of other agencies with street jurisdictions such as Fire, DOT, and MTA. These requirements are design and species dependent. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines must be followed.

  1. Do not plant in front of building entrances in order to permit easy access by the Fire Department.
  2. Minimum distance between trees (center to center) ranges from 20' to 30', depending upon the tree species and other local conditions.
  3. Minimum distance from a streetlight is 25' (varies with tree species).
  4. Minimum distance from a stop sign is 30'.
  5. Minimum distance from other traffic signs is 6'.
  6. Suggested distance from a parking meter is no more than 5' behind the meter, to allow for the swing of car doors.
  7. Minimum distance from a gas or water valve is 2' from the edge of the pit.
  8. Minimum distance from an oil fill pipe is 4' from the edge of the pit.
  9. Minimum distance from a coal chute is 6'.
  10. Minimum distance from a fire hydrant is 5' from the edge of the pit.
  11. Minimum distance from a curb cut or driveway is 7'.
  12. Minimum distance from the middle of a street intersection is 40'.3
  13. Minimum distance from the edge of the pit to any opposite obstruction (building wall, stoop, railing, etc) is from 4' to 6', depending upon local conditions and the amount of sidewalk traffic.
  14. All tree pits must be contiguous to the street curb (except as noted below, or with the permission of the Agency representative).
  15. Trees may be planted on either side of sidewalks (if any exist) in lawn areas where there is sufficient room between the property line and the street curb.
  16. Do not plant within bus stops.

The locations of all trees shown on plans may be relocated as required by site and as directed by the Agency representative.

As you can plainly see, the replanting effort will take serious precision and most certainly doesn’t entertain pacing. Remember replanting smarter? Well it seems to me being smarter about it involves using the right tools for the job. 'Smarter' and 'easier' don’t have to be mutually exclusive!

The labor savings alone would more than justify the modest cost!

TruPulse 360 laser range finders are far more than distance acquisition. The TP360 fits nicely into your vest pocket and has an integrated compass that allows you to measure azimuth and provides an extra on-board solution called 'missing line.' This is a simple 2-shot routine that instantly calculates the distance, inclination, and azimuth direction value between any two remote points.

TruPulse360 in combination with LaserGIS and ArcPad will not only provide the accuracy the guideline requires, but is able to map each and every tree’s location, species, planting date, and other attributes as programmed.

Sandy was a tragedy to be sure. So if we’re going to replant as well as rebuild, let’s "be smarter" and do it right to minimize the damage next time Mother Nature comes to call.

Email or call us at 1-800-OWN-A-LTI for a practical demonstration.

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