Update on Fundraiser Beech Tree

June 1, 2014

2009 DLNHS 20th Anniversary Fundraiser Update: Station Beech Tree

Five years ago, our iconic Beech Tree at the Douglaston Train Station, was pronounced to be in steep decline (perhaps dead within a year) by the New York City Parks Department Arborist and the late Thomas Gaines, local landscape architect/horticulturist. In the five years before, more than half of the tree had died and it was dying rapidly. Beech trees are VERY sensitive, and typically once branches die back, it's only a matter of time.

The Douglaston and Little Neck Historical Society decided to be PROACTIVE rather than wait until the Beech Tree was dead and scramble for a solution, or worse, have the City have its own solution, which might have included paving over the island.

Our 2009 20th Anniversary Gala dedicated funds raised to the purchase, removal, planting, irrigation and care of a replacement Beech Tree for the Station. These funds have been set aside by the DLNHS and are inviolate, they cannot be used for anything else.

The Station Beech Tree was planted in the 1880s and is the scion of the original Weeping Beech brought to Flushing in the 1850's by Samuel Parsons, nurseryman, from Europe. All Weeping Beeches in the United States are descended from this original cutting brought from an estate in Belgium.

A 20-foot Beech Tree to replace the Station Beech Tree was purchased by and shipped to New York from Ohio (nationwide search) after the fundraiser by Joe Pizzirusso of New Creations Landscapes. Mr. Pizzirusso did not ask us for money to pay for this, instead generously offering to hold the tree and care for it in his nursery in Melville, Long Island, where it remains as of 2014, and is growing nicely. Beech trees are a very slow growing tree. When the time comes, he will bring it to Douglaston and plant it. Mr. Pizziruso donated his services in procuring it, caring for it (and eventually) planting it as a gift to Douglaston, as his personal thank you to this community, where he has worked with many clients over the past 20 years.

The Parks Department has maintained the tree since the 2009 prediction of demise, pruning it promptly whenever there is die back, and watering it in the intense heat of summer (lack of irrigation is another issue for its survival), and so far it has worked, staving off imminent death.