Thursday, August 12, 2010

ashes, ashes...

...they all fall down.

On Tuesday, the City of St. Paul came out and painted a bright red ring on every single boulevard tree on both sides of our street.  When I had read in the paper a few weeks ago that they were planning to remove a large portion of ash trees, due to the discovery of an Emerald Ash Borer bug in a distant neighborhood, I was smug in the fact that OUR trees would be fine, as we have elms.

Clearly, a botanist I am not.


As they ARE ash trees.  They are removing 65 ash trees on Hamline Avenue on a stretch of about 8 blocks.  I cannot begin to imagine how naked and sad our street will look.  In the mornings, while I took my early walk along the street, I would wonder how they could be taking that many, as clearly there just weren't that many ash trees on our street. 

They are taking down healthy trees, that are not bug infested.  They claim that the trees are old, and not in good shape, and if the bug comes our way they will die anyway.  Like Mike said, substitute the words "senior citizen" for trees in that last sentence, and imagine the uproar.

They say they have the funding to cut them all down, and replace them with a different tree, but they have no funding to chemically treat them so the bug won't get to them.  Talk about some really ridiculous "preventive maintenance".

The mature trees on our block have always been part of the charm of our neighborhood.  In the eighteen years we have lived here, each time I turned down our street and drove under the canopy of trees I would sigh, knowing I was nearly home.  The first spikes of green appearing on their branches in the spring brought delight, and the leafy tunnel they made of our street in the summer gave ample shade on hot days.  Their colorful leaves in the fall provided a golden glow as kids walked home from school.  In the winter, when the snow was just the right consistency, it coated the branches creating an artistic sculpture of nature.

I know there is nothing I can do.  They held a public meeting, to inform the neighborhood of what would be happening.  Not to get any input, as they had already decided how to handle it.  And the folks who disagreed with them, were listened to, but of course those folks may have been talking to, well, a tree, for all the difference it made. 

The only bright side I can see is that we will have less leaves to rake this fall.  But I would rather have the trees, and the leaves they showered down upon my yard, and the old sturdy branches that supported many a squirrel and bird nest, and the trunks that occasionally held a sign for a lost pet.  You stood strong through years of storms, and road construction, and everything else a modern city dishes out.  Hard to believe the threat of a nasty little bug and the fear it inspires could bring you down.

3 comments:

  1. Oh, that is VERY sad. I like your comment, "may as well have been talking to a tree" regarding the public meeting. Isn't that the truth!?

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  2. I read this post and feel for you. Our city too is taking several trees down and the street appears naked. On the up side, we too bought along a tree lined street when only a year later they were taken down. The trees that were planted though have grown very quickly and it is once again beautiful.
    Dana

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  3. krisknetsch@msn.comAugust 17, 2010 at 3:59 PM

    Just looked down Hamline Ave from Randolph- it made me gasp! It reminds me of how I felt after seeing the tornado destruction on Highland Parkway a few years ago. I always loved that beautiful curved canopy on Hamline Ave.

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