Another One Bites the Dust or “Stop Cutting Down Nice Trees!”
One of the things that gets my blood boiling, (or my sap flowing, to speak as a tree), is when I hear about trees that have been declared “rotten” by someone who does not know what they are talking about. Even worse is when it is proclaimed to be so by a tree removal guy with a vested interest in selling a job.
Just today in my own neighborhood, as I was on my daily three mile run, I saw a local tree service cutting down one of the nicest young pin oaks in the area. You see, pin oaks often develop with very round canopies, sort of an “O” shape, although they should be more of an upright “A” shape for most of their life. This one still had a strong central leader, or main trunk, with branches that were clearly branches, as opposed to multiple competing scaffolds and stems just as large as the main trunk. This tree was maybe 70 feet tall with a two foot thick trunk. It had a very pronounced flare at the interface between the ground and the tree. In other words, it was very nicely structured and very healthy. I’ve admired the tree for the past 16 years that I’ve lived in the neighborhood.
To make matters worse, the company doing the removal was operating, as is typical in the industry nowhere near compliant with current safety standards. I’m talking about things like wearing hard hats. Basic stuff. I was compelled to stop running when I saw the guys working, and (politely,) recommended to them that they do all of us in the business a favor and at least put on their hard hats. They said they would so off I ran.
I stopped by a few hours later to ask the homeowner about the tree. And I found out that the ex-husband, the landscaper, and finally the tree guy all declared the tree to be possibly rotten. One of them in fact saw an ant, an ANT, I say walking around on the tree last year. Well, I have to say, the mere presence of an ant is in no way indicative of a rotten tree. Also, the tree owner liked the tree. She said she almost called them to cancel the job the night before. It’s too bad she didn’t. The trunk was perfectly sound. No decay, or rot to be seen.
It’s OK though, the job was done really cheap. Although I would bet that it was still money that the homeowner would probably had rather kept.
Is there a moral to this story? You bet! It pays in so many ways to call a consulting arborist before having work done on your tree. Consultants have no interest, or bias, in the outcome so you are sure to get better advice. In this case the savings would have amounted to hundreds of dollars, assuming that the tree would have been preserved.