Foothills Reserve resident Dietmar Hanke photographed these dying trees that were transplanted by Phoenix city workers temporarily from the path of the Chandler Boulevard Extension.
Dietmar Hanke/Special to AFN

Some of the trees that crews uprooted for the South Mountain Freeway didn’t make it after all.

Nor did trees removed by the city for the Chandler Boulevard Extension.

Foothills Reserve resident Dietmar Hanke said he recently saw as many as 20 wither, die and eventually be removed by Phoenix city workers from the eastern end of the new Chandler Boulevard Extension following a monsoon downpour July 23.

“A pile of boards from the boxes lies at the western end of where the row was,” Hanke said. “No one seems to notice the drip system isn’t working for the uprooted trees.”

“Either the crew that gouged them out of the ground had absolutely no idea what they were doing or there was no water in the system,” he added. “The water lines were visible.

“Trees need a lot of water after they’re uprooted to help them heal and recover. Even after transplanting, they need a re-vegetation supply of water for about a half a year.”

Meanwhile, a few trees removed for freeway work also have died, though most remain alive.

The Arizona Department of Transportation last fall removed about 800 trees, cacti and plants along Pecos Road because they were in the freeway’s path.

They have been stored in a makeshift nursery nearby for replanting once the freeway is built.

ADOT spokesman Dustin Krugel said, “Special care has been taken to keep the plants alive in the temporary nursery, including installing an irrigation watering system, along with bi-weekly inspections.”

He also said crews have been providing “additional watering and maintenance” during the hot summer months.

Krugel conceded that while “most of the salvaged trees, including palo verde, mesquite and ironwoods, are performing quite well… a limited number of trees have been removed due to either stress, such as excessive heat or disease, since the nursery site was created."

“It is typical to lose some trees as part of the plant salvage process,” he added.


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