New York

New York Guide
Sidewalk garden
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New York in recent years has made a few changes in the permitting and vocabulary surrounding their street trees. The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation which oversees the city’s street and park trees now refers to the little patch of soil surrounding the street trees “Tree Beds,” formally called “Tree Pits.” A welcome change in our eyes, as the word Tree Beds, similar to Garden Beds, congers up images of lush plantings and promise. Nobody is going to envision these beautiful thoughts when using the word “Pits.”

The new permitting process is all online. Gone are the days where you are manually hand writing and faxing in a permit. The Parks Department implemented a permitting process to ensure the health of street trees and safety of pedestrians, while at the same time being conscious of drivers ability to exit their vehicles. The online permit can be found at or for street tree information in general, visit Trees New York.

Tree guards should:

  • Be recessed from the street at least 12 inches (we recommend closer to 18);
  • Be no shorter than 18 inches or no taller than 24 inches;
  • Be made of metal;
  • Allow water to freely enter the tree bed;
  • Not have any sharp points;
  • Not be anchored into the sidewalk; and
  • Not be fastened with concrete in the tree bed.

These are all sensible criteria in our eyes. For more information about tree guards in New York visit