street trees

After talking about the whacking down of the neighbour?s giant Norway maple yesterday, I got a call from Valerie another neighbour who was just as upset as I was.

??We need at least a dozen new trees on this streets and I can get us some trees from the city.? Let?s organize.????

But Valerie was worried about her own sugar maple which has done pretty much nothing in the five years it?s been in her front yard. Alas, it?s a tree placed with good intentions:? these are native plants, they are maples, we all love maples.? But some maples are too fragile and that would include the sugar maple. There are whole forest where they are struggling and that?s put our maple syrup industry at risk.

? Sugar maples just don?t hold up to pollution very well. Acid rain, road salt and water deprivation are devastating for this shade tolerant tree. It can?t take competition with grass roots which we so love to encase our street trees in.?

I have a silver maple out front. It was marked for death over 10 years ago.? But I water, compost and, though I do grow at the base of this trees, I keep stuff off the flare and I sure don?t have any grass.

? So Valerie is getting a list of the trees the city will give us.? We?ll pick out the ones appropriate for this street, then we?re going out to knock on doors.??All those?empty front yards are drawing us inexorably toward them. No one will be safe from the Valiant Valerie.

? Her idea is to strong arm neighbours into ordering these free trees; get a bunch of us together and with borrowed equipment we?ll go around in the spring and plant and mulch them properly.? We will, of course, have some wine to help with the work.

? Valerie the Valiant is willing to be the tree police: when the trees are being neglected she?ll knock on doors and insist on proper watering.

? Valerie is convinced that if people get involved with the planting of their street trees, they will take responsibility for them.? She is absolutely right and I?m flinging myself into her soon-to-develop committee.