Thursday, March 6, 2014
People in suburbia see trees differently than foresters do. They cherish every one. It is useless to speak of the probability that a certain tree will die when the tree is in someone’s back yard. You are talking about a personal asset, a friend, a monument, not about board feet of lumber. ~Roger Swain
One of the things that attracted our family to this neighborhood back in the early 80’s was the tree lined street. Our house was built in 1927. We bought it in 1983. At the time, there were seven trees lined up across our front yard, most of them maples. They were probably planted back in the twenties. Not sure about that. But we enjoyed living in their shade during the summer and watching their leaves turn red and yellow in the fall. Sometime through the decades, the practice of topping trees came into vogue—a terrible thing to do to a tree because it dramatically shortens the lifespan of trees and creates hazardous trees in high-traffic areas [that’s a quote from this great link if you desire to know more about tree topping: http://www.plantamnesty.org/stoptopping/5reasons.aspx]. Our trees had all been topped at some point before we bought the house. And, one by one, we’ve been forced to take them down. This red maple was a home to squirrels, and many a baby bird hatched in the nests in this tree. And finally, the past two summers, we’ve seen swarms of termites literally spewing out of the trunk. So, before it could blow over and crush our house during the upcoming tornado season, we [finally] decided it was long overdue to come down.
This tree had been a disaster just waiting to happen. The whole tree was like this from top to bottom.
We are now down to two maples in our front yard, one on either end of the property, nice and symmetrical, at least. The tree cutters did such a great job. They also pruned the dead wood from the two remaining trees and they look nicer now. Hopefully safer. While we had them and their equipment here, we also had them remove the giant walnut tree in the back yard which was always a hazard, dropping its baseball sized walnut bombs all over our yard and our neighbor’s house, as the tree was right on the property line. It’s a wonder someone didn’t get beaned by one of those things. It was a massive tree, but we won’t miss it. The only thing I regret is that those big heavy logs landed on top of our buttercups which were just beginning to bud. It couldn't be helped. They also took down our mulberry tree in the back yard. An ice storm years ago damaged most of the branches, leaving it weak and ugly. Our kids and grandkids have all enjoyed picking and eating those fat juicy purple berries every June, and the grandkids loved swinging on the swing their grandpa made and hung from one of its sturdier branches. We really hated to lose that tree, but it was time. We will mourn our loss until we get used to the big open sky in our yard now, a little piece of neighborhood history into the wood chipper.