Unacceptable Tree Guards

Too Restrictive: Tree grates are not allowed in NYC because they can girdle (chock) the tree over time.

LA - Girded guard close up

Too Pointy:  Sit spikes or loafers (as sometimes they are known) make sense if you don’t want people to sit on your guard, but they can’t have dangerous, sharp and/or protruding edges.

SitSpikes - Dangerous

Too Solid:  Solid walled tree guards allow soil to be elevated which can rot the trunk, compact the soil and prevents water from running into the tree bed.

Halloween Tree Guards

Too Close:  Because this guard is way too close the street, it has been damaged and can be dangerous to pedestrians.

Dangerous Broken Guard Too Close to Street

Too Short: Guards in NYC need to be at least 18 inches tall. This follows the American Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements to prevent people with disabilities from tripping (or all people, for that matter). With a couple of inches of snow on the ground, pedestrians would not be able to see these stones at all.

Baltimore - Cobbles Small Pit

Too Tall:  Way back in the horse and buggy days, “Horse Guards” (as they were known then) were fashionable because they prevented horses from damaging tree trunks. Since most people no longer travel by horse, we certainly don’t need tree guards over 24 inches. As you can see from this photo, trees in urban environments do not always grow straight. Street trees grow towards the sun and can be impacted by wind tunnels created by very tall buildings and therefore generally begin to lean overtime towards the street. Horse Guards begin to girdle (choke) the tree as it is begins to lean.