City trees should be preserved for their beauty and use, and they can save you money

I think that I shall never see. A poem as lovely as a tree. A tree that looks at God all day, And lifts her leafy arms to pray. (Joyce Kilmer)

It makes me sad whenever I see a big, picturesque tree being cut down. The other day I heard the buzz of a chain saw running and I went to the window to see what was going on. Down the street, I saw this large bucket truck with its long arm high in the air. In the bucket there was a workman carefully cutting down a tree piece by piece. This particular tree had been declining for the past several years, dropping small limbs and branches during wind storms or heavy snow fall. It’s close proximity to a house made it a sure bet it would cause property damage if it fell.

I had a similar problem with a large maple in front of my house. It slowly started rotting away and was infested with carpenter ants. It had so many limbs removed by the power company that the grandchildren started calling it the “one legged tree”. This stately maple gave us welcome shade in the summer, blocking the sun from reaching my bedroom window early in the morning and giving us shade on our front porch. The city came and removed it (It was a city tree) before it fell causing problems. There is a maple tree across the street from my home now that only gets leaves on half of its branches and I know that it’s days are numbered.

I remember the elm trees that used to line the streets of Buffalo when I grew up. They were magnificent, and then they were gone. They fell prey, one by one, to Dutch elm disease, a fungal disease of elm trees that is spread by elm bark beetles. One day they would have a big yellow “C” on them and then a week later they would be gone. A stump and roots forlornly taking its place, making testament to the once stately giant that used to be there.

Unfortunately there are a few trees on my property that need a “haircut”. They are not in bad shape but they have limbs reaching out to grab my house and they even have limbs extending over my roof. Every storm we have there are small branches and limbs littering my yard and I fear the day will come that a larger limb will cut loose and come crashing into my home. I hate the idea but I feel the need to get someone out to cut everything off these trees that are on the side towards my dwelling.

There is also a tree in my front yard that was brought up from Pennsylvania by the previous owner. It has grown so much that it’s leafy hands are wrapped around the phone and power wires coming from the telephone pole. I feel something has to be done about this tree’s strangle hold on my home’s lifeline before it causes any damage.

This year, there has been a couple of trees cut down in my neighborhood. As I look around I remember what a nice, shady street this was when we moved into our home over 30 years ago. I loved the leafy canopy. Seeing the sky is nice and I like seeing the clouds blow by but I used to enjoy driving down a tree lined tunnel, playing hide and seek with the sun and seeing the fluttering leaves.

Cutting down trees is quite an attraction for some people, kind of like an accident on the freeway. Traffic is sometimes detoured and blocked for safety purposes and this was the case this day with many bystanders looking on.

There are many advantages for trees. Trees can cool the streets and the city but as tree coverage declines and the number of heat-absorbing buildings and roads increases, the temperatures in cities can go up. Trees can cool a city by up to 10°F by shading our homes and streets, breaking up urban “heat islands” and releasing water.

According to the US Forrest Service, trees, properly cared for, are valuable assets worth three times their original cost. Healthy trees mean healthy people. One Hundred trees remove over 50 tons of carbon dioxide and over 400 pounds of other air pollutants per year.

They also said that trees make for healthy communities. They say that tree filled neighborhoods lower levels of domestic violence and are safer and more sociable. They maintain that trees promote a healthy environment and that one hundred mature trees catch about 139,000 gallons of rainwater per year.

The Forrest Service claims that placed properly trees could save over fifty percent of your annual air conditioning costs. In the winter, evergreens that block the wind could help you save up to three percent on your heating costs.

There is a fiscal advantage to trees. They allege that consumers shop more frequently and longer in tree-lined commercial areas and are willing to spend more. Additionally they say that each large front yard tree adds to a home’s sale price.

I’m sure that there are many people who feel the same as I do about the removal of a tree that provides a home for the birds and oxygen for us to breathe.

Norb is a writer from Lockport. His email address is nrug@juno.com.

About the author


News and art, national and local. Began as alternative weekly in 1990 in Buffalo, NY. Publishing content online since 1996.

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