3rd Jul, 2012

City Trees under Stress

It’s dreadful what we do to city trees. Yet another old one was chopped down on our street last week. There might have been a reason (a Norway maple of great age, hollow in the middle) but it also might have been saved for a few more years.  And all the other trees I see in our neighbourhood are looking dry and dusty.  Why people  don’t get out there and water them is beyond me.

Until this most recent tree felling, I didn’t know the following:  a mature tree can add $30,000 to the value of your real estate. The nabes were bemoaning the fact that the loss of the tree not only devalues their home, they are now in the punishing glare of the sun. “It was like living in a tree house on the second floor.” one of them said.  And the exposure in this heat wave is almost unbearable. A baby tree, this time a silver maple which isn’t the best of city trees, has been planted nearby and will probably vault. But what a loss.  It will also mean that two more houses will be getting air conditioners.

but look at this:

photo 1This is a large chain’s idea of replacing the canopy:
photo 4 Instead of hiring someone who knows how to plant a tree, this company allowed plant-blind construction workers to toss them in the ground like this. If it was unusual I wouldn’t be weeping but we’ve seen more travesties perpetrated on trees this summer than ever before.

People want big trees to get an instant effect and what they are getting is a specimen being toted in on a machine, shoved into the ground and left to fend for itself. I think these companies should be fined.  I think people who do not look after their city trees should be fined.

If these trees add so much value to our real estate why don’t we respect them?

Sorry but this has put me in such a bad mood. Reader Monique Dobson sent these on to me and I’ve been heart sick ever since I saw them.  You probably have the same sort of thing going on in your ‘hood. Complain to the management, make a stand for our city trees. We need them to breathe and lower the temperature of the vast heat sink we’re living in.

Responses

Couldn’t agree more Marjorie! However it is not only construction workers that plant like this. Recently I watched a tree being planted that had great roots however rather than a)digging the hole large enough to accommodate them or b) pruning some root mass off the tree went into the hole and then was spiraled around so that in a few years I’m sure the tree will die due to root strangulation. Also the volcano effect is epidemic in some areas. Mulch is good but not piled up around the trunk for effect.

Several years ago I watched a city of Ottawa crew plant 8-10 trees on a nice little traffic island overlooking the canal. It was during one of those scorching July weeks Ottawans know well and I thought, why bother? Those trees had no chance. I wrote the city and posted notes on neighbouring houses encouraging the same, but what could have been a nice place to sit in the shade is still dried grass and several stunted trees. What a shame.

I was ranting on about how we neglect our trees, and a few people let me know that they actually got out there and watered by hand.

Marjorie….I have heard you speak several times on CBC and am740 and you keep repeating your 3 bucket rule…..which makes a lot of sense but how often……daily, every other day…weekly? It has been so very dry but it is also very time consuming.

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