Not long ago, I was prompted to take action in composing several "Benefits of Trees" letters to be handed out to my neighbors after I witnessed over a few short years, what had been an non-stop cutting down assault on the beautiful tall oak trees which once dominated our neighborhood.
When you grow up with these trees and remember how they cradled and protected the neighborhood for so long, one grows to respect them and realize all the benefits they provide---yet get taken for granted. Cutting them down for frivolous reasons such as 'not wanting to rake leaves' is not only disrespectful to the institution of a long time living thing, but also to the many people who have grown to respect these trees for all the fond memories they have provided. One does not realize just how much the trees meant to the neighborhood until the trees gone. In many places which we considered to our "urban forest", what remains is boring patch after patch of turf grass.
The letter I wrote was a bit passionate, maybe off-putting to some, but when I wrote it, I didn't care because something had to be done, and I was not about to wait for a backwards city council to draft proper progressive legislation to protect historic trees on private property within city limits! The rather lengthy letter reminded people clearly what they may want to consider before removing in a matter of hours, what took a long human lifetime and much more to grow--and just what these trees meant to the value of the neighborhood! If you have a similar tree assault problem in your neighborhood, maybe this letter can inspire you to do something a bit proactive in your own way. My choice was to go straight to the neighbors and remind them a thing or two about trees. I think it worked because the cutting has stopped!
I have been a long time resident of the “Genesee/Oak Knoll” area
neighborhood and a volunteer former member of the one time Warren City
Arbor Commission. I write today to many of you to share a few thoughts
about what I am seeing with the poor stewardship of our city’s trees
both on public and private properties. This most valued asset of the
neighborhood has been entirely taken for granted and it has really gone
far enough to the point I felt I had to write one resident at a time
hoping that you will take all the following beneficial assets about
trees on board before you chose to remove one.
If you are considering removing trees on your property, please take a
few moments to read the following information before you pay a lot of
money to have it done by one of the various so called “tree expert”
companies which often don’t even have a qualified degreed arborist
working for them…yet are allowed to continue this destruction of our
trees in the neighborhood.
Granted, over the years, some have been or may need to be removed for
obvious safety reasons -- or they have been blown down by storms, but
many more are continually coming down for somewhat frivolous reasons
such as not wanting to rake/mulch leaves, or allowing sun to penetrate
to the ground. (which can be easily achieved through trimming the tree,
rather than removing it wholly)
By making the decision or “a” decision to cut down the perfectly
healthy tree in your yard, you will have contributed to being a part of
the following problems….
* Helping to make already dirty air even dirtier, (Ohio has amongst the
worse air quality, in various categories, in the nation -- see EPA
website) as well as to help increase the effects of global warming
effects caused by greenhouse gases, which trees assist in greatly
reducing. Trees help remove air pollution while producing oxygen we
need…to continue to remove then will be costly to all of us via
health care and many other ways!
* Helping to make a town, which is already chronically noisy , even
noisier. Trees help to reduce noise pollution acting as a sound buffer.
(loud motorcycles, boom cars, gas powered leaf blowers, etc.)
* Helping to make water resources dirtier. Trees are integral parts of
the hydrogen cycle and help clean our water for free……no one will have
to pay extra taxes for this service!
* Helping to undermine the beauty and value of the neighborhood. Often,
well maintained housing in neighborhoods which boast lush tree lined
streets often have higher property values. Trees add beauty and value
to the neighborhood! The high aesthetic and monetary property value of
the Oak Knoll neighborhood owes this in part to the trees. Many
neighborhoods would die to have trees like this and yet we keep cutting
them down each year without replacing them! Now our neighborhood is
beginning to look like a cheap housing development…bare and naked…and
not with the “cozy and safe” feeling that well tree planted streets
provide. As other neighborhoods continue to lose their trees, this kind
of “forested” neighborhood amidst the concrete of the city, will be
rare, hence a much sought after feature in the neighborhood by
potential good home buyers. Please think about the sense this makes.
* Helping to create higher heating and cooling bills. In a national
Arbor day Foundation study, it was discovered that in towns and cities
where trees were more abundant, that heating and cooling bills were
lower than the averages. Trees help in reducing utility bills. *See
National Arbor Day Foundation
* Helping to Increase landfill waste, landfill space, and consumption
of more energy to manage them. Paper is one of the top 5 “ingredients”
in landfills. The highest point in Trumbull County to date is a
landfill! Ohio accepts trash from 7 states while struggling to manage
* Helping in destroying harmless “backyard wildlife” habitat. This
creates a scenario where this wildlife could now become a problem, such
as taking refuge in chimney’s and spouting, or in garages, because they
have no place to go. Trees provide beneficial habitat so that we can co-
exist peacefully with harmless yet beneficial small animals.
* Helping to create more drought-like conditions or intense rainfall in
the Summer, which could lead to excessive water consumption or
flooding. Trees are an integral part of the hydrogen cycle. By
removing too many trees, when it does rain, it will be intense heavy
rain which can greatly contribute to soil erosion around the home and
water in basements of homes. Tree roots can help “suck up” water and
hold soil together.
Note: Trees provide the above benefits and many more for free! Nobody
has to pay any extra taxes for this. It is our hope that you did not
remove this tree for the somewhat frivolous and lazy reason of:
…..“because you don’t want to rake leaves” If so, you may want to learn
the money and time saving benefits of mulching, vs. raking and/or
bagging. It’s not likely that the tree was a threat to safety as
indicated above, but whatever the reason, we strongly urge you to
replace what was destroyed so that we can leave, and provide current
future residents with all the benefits trees offer. In the long run,
you only stand to gain. Warren has done nothing to plant new trees in
recent years. We have only been taking them down. It is one sobering
thought to see how many the city removes without replacing them, let
alone all the residents who do, and who do not replace them. Take a
look around and notice how many times this happens. Why chose to be a
part of the many problems that are created due to lack of trees? It’s
shameful that what takes several years to grow, is destroyed in a
matter of a few hours.
Forested urban neighborhoods was once our most appealing visual aspect
of our neighborhoods and it‘s pitiful that we risk losing this because
of the fool who says he dosn‘t want to rake leaves, or some other weak
excuse. Worse is when the tree gets removed by the one who thinks that
just because one tree fell, or had a branch fall off, that we must act
in a “Chicken Little-like” paranoid way and start cutting all of them
down for fear that the one in 50 million chance of someone walking by
when it may fall, will actually happen….and that this ideology based on
gripping someone in fear, takes precedence over all the major benefits
our neighborhood trees provide on a daily basis, that we take for
granted. Even if something like that DID happen, a property owner is
not likely to be held responsible for what would be construed by the
insurance community as an “act of God”
Lastly, please note that just because a tree is rotting from the
inside, does NOT mean that it is going to fall over… or that this is a
bad thing. For many trees this is a perfectly natural cycle of life and
does NOT necessarily warrant it’s removal.
For more information on the benefits of trees, please visit The
National Arbor Day Foundation on the internet at:
If after strongly considering all of the above, and you still think you
need to remove the tree, please plan on replacing it with a native
Thanks for your cooperation!
If you have any questions, please call me at 330-393-4448