Friday, November 03, 2006

A treescape forever altered

These crabapples in Johnson Park were among the survivors.

Many of you will smile at my ignorance—and I truly am ignorant about trees; I can barely tell them apart—but I learned a lot of disturbing and eye-opening facts about Western New York tree damage during a talk with a certified arborist yesterday.

It was interesting to hear him assert that previous lack of trimming had nothing to do with how the branches fell. He said some of his most regularly pruned trees were destroyed by the storm, and maintained that the amount of leaves on the trees and their positioning (east of a building being the worst) were the most crucial factors.

He says he’s most worried not about next spring (because the leaves gave up their nutrients before the storm hit) but about the following springs, when less branches and leaves on the trees will mean less food going to the roots, making them vulnerable to insects and disease.

To some degree he took a conservative position on the possible unnecessary removal of many trees, asserting that it does look much different when you’re in the bucket than from the ground. But I did get him to agree that the company most at fault had originally been hired to remove branches from power lines and had minimal professional standing as arborists. That’s pretty much what most of us think already, of course.

I feel like I want to learn more about trees. I’m certainly appreciating the ones left standing a lot more.


Anonymous said...

I arrived at your blog from Takoma Garden. I preordered the Garden Walk book back in Sept and was originally told I would receive it around Oct 23 and last weekend, I was told I would have it by the end of this week. Do you know who I can contact to resolve this? Thanks so much.

EAL said...

Hi! Well, the books have just been printed. I believe all orders are being shipped now. In fact, I think they started doing that Friday.

Without your name, I can't check into this much more, but you should directly email the publishers at Or call them at 716-903-7155.

Anonymous said...

GWI: I still asert that, if the trees in Buffalo had been taken care of - proper pruning, and other forms of maintenance - we would have had less destruction.

Think of it like this:

A 200+ year old oak, it's boughs heavy during summer, even heavier in Fall due to rains, the boughs reaching a good two feet lower than usual due to those rains, gets hit with heavy snow. Where do the boughs go? Are they not affected since they haven't had proper trimming?

Of course they're affected. Proper pruning also alows for better growth patterns and relieves the tree of undo energy displacement to limbs that are unbalanced with the growth of the tree, itself.

The issue here is not how these trees can come back, but the damage done to their future growth patterning, as well. We have not been good stewards to these beasts.

Anonymous said...

BTW: The trees on JP in your photo were regularly pruned by the residents in the neighborhood. See how they weathered the storm?

EAL said...

We've been trying unsucessfully to get our city trees pruned for the last ten years. I did think the lack of a city forester/arborist might have been a factor.

But even without catastrophic storms, I agree it's important for the city to take care of its trees.

firefly said...

Wow. I can't imagine a city the size of Buffalo without an arborist. Portland is about one quarter the size, but it has a forestry department, and I see them around fairly frequently working on trees in the parks and along city streets, which the city maintains.

I'd contact my city councilor and raise the issue. Maybe you could network with the Garden Walk gardeners to lobby city government about this?

West Village Renaissance Group said...

Actually, we also have a financial control board that won't even allow pay raises for police or fire personnel. We are currently working along with Citadel Bradcasting to establish a borad of fundraisers for not only tree planting, but also maintenance, remediation and sustainability.

Wish us luck!