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On May 31, 2020, I wrote an article about an elegant classic dictionary usage example for “leaf” as a transitive verb, referring to the production of foliage. That usage example, “the trees leaf in May,” is certainly true here in Brooklyn New York. The trees flower in April and leaf in May. Many trees in May follow the example of the honey locust tree, as described by Ella Rodman Church in “Among the Trees at Elmridge”: “May is its time for leafing out in the tenderest of greens.” However, not all trees leaf in May in the healthiest ways. Many trees, especially trees in some distress, grow suckers and watersprouts. The watersprouts sometimes leaf in May. Many unfortunate trees in Brooklyn do not have anyone to prune them, leading to prolific watersprout leafing.

On the afternoon of May 5, 2020, I took a walk to the quaint Brooklyn neighborhood of Vinegar Hill with my Nikon D40 DLSR camera. Shortly after I took a picture of Vinegar Hill’s historic, scenic, and short Hudson Avenue – which I covered in an earlier article – I ventured toward DUMBO. En route to DUMBO, I came across an unfortunate tree with a cluster of green leafing watersprouts just a bit below eye level. I took two pictures of the poor tree and its virid watersprouts.

Leafy watersprouts low on a tree in Vinegar Hill in May 2020.
Leafy watersprouts low on a tree in Vinegar Hill in May 2020.
Both photos retouched by V. Gurbo. Note the wind moved the leaves on the right just a bit in the second picture.

To be sure, I have seen many trees worse off on the watersprout front than the Vinegar Hill tree. While I do not remember specifically where the tree is, I have not noticed any downed or missing trees in Vinegar Hill in subsequent trips (the same cannot be said for stop signs). Nevertheless, it is important for the City and responsible homeowners to take care of the trees, both for the trees’ own sake and to avoid unfortunate tree accidents.