Saturday, October 18, 2008

Lament for an oak tree

I'm a tree-hugger -- I'll admit it. And when we bought our house ten years ago, one of its many selling points was the mature oak tree standing on the front lawn, along with equally lovely maples and locust trees spotted around the property. So it was with dread that I read, a few years ago, about a blight that was striking oak trees in my state.

I took a good look at my tree, and, in truth, it didn't look so well. The leaves turned brown early, but not because it was fall (it wasn't). Over the next two years, the tree looked worse and worse. I lamented -- I grieved -- and I called the department in our borough responsible for trees located within four feet from the street: the Shade Tree Commission (I kid you not). I connected with a nice man named Jim, who came by while I was at work, and reported that my tree "needed pruning," but that I would have to get in line with the 20,000 other shade trees in the borough.

Sigh. A week or two ago, I called Jim again.

"It's dead, Jim," I said, paraphrasing Dr. McCoy on Star Trek.

"No, it just needs pruning," he replied.

"Jim, it has dead branches dangling over the road," I mentioned helpfully. "They could fall on anyone's car, or child," I elaborated, hoping to instill the fear of litigation.

"We'll get to it eventually," he assured me.

Right. "It's an eyesore!" I exclaimed finally, hoping to appeal to his feeling of responsibility for falling property values. "It's dead!" I exclaimed again.

"Like every other oak in town," he replied, and I finally gave up.

Later, walking two of the dogs, I noticed that other, clearly dead, oaks on my street are marked with a red X. I assume this means they are to be cut down.

I'm off to the hardware store for red paint.

It's dead, Jim!!

1 comment:

sharecropper said...

Sorry about your tree! I am a tree hugger, too. And, we're losing our dogwoods down here.

Killing our river too, but the blight for that is too many hog farms and not enough capital to handle the waste. Big companies own the hogs and the farmers own the waste. The little farmers don't have the capital for equipment.

Wonder if the blight is something we imported with all the other stuff we bring into the country?