If you’ve ever seen a painfully chained or otherwise constrained tree on the street, you might have wished you could free it – but how? One Brooklynite has taken the matter into his own hands with his “Treedom Project“, which aims to find chained or otherwise abused NYC trees (the shackles don’t just look oppressive – they can actually cause trees to weaken and die) and liberate them. With the help of a network of “informants” and a pair of city distributed clippers, Rob Birdsong is planning to set each and every wrongly chained tree free. Read on to see how you can help!

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Birdsong launched a 30-day campaign last month aiming to remove chains, junk, and other forgotten about debris from around trees in New York City. On May 26th, the concluding day of the event, Birdsong and his team (an urban arborist and a few carpenters) will go around and remove such items from any and all reported chained trees. Their hope is that they will be able to set at least 50 trees free. So far, they’ve managed to rescue 10 trees.

Birdsong got sick and tired of seeing a chain choke the trunk of a Japanese Zelkova on his block and decided to remove it. “I had watched for months as rust built around the chain and the tree showed early signs of absorbing the chain. It quite literally looked as if the tree was choking to death,” explains Birdsong on the Treedom Project’s website. “I learned in the tree world that this term is called “girdling” […]. But when girdling occurs to a tree it begins to weaken and die when it can no longer transfer the sugars from its leaves down to power its roots.”

According to The Atlantic Cities, Birdsong says that he’s in training to become a certified tree pruner— which comes to no surprise to us. To report a chained tree in your neighborhood send an email to the Treedom Project here. And if you ever feel so inclined to lock your bike to a tree think twice as you could face a $1,000 fine. Plus, it’s just not cool.

Via Treedom Project