Thursday, May 27, 2010

Warren Ohio: Not Going Green...Going TREELESS!

After several years of paying close attention to the assault on this city’s once prominent urban forest, Warren desperately needs to implement a better tree maintenance and tree replacement plan. Currently, one does not seem to exist, or if it does, is ignored completely. It is bad enough that on private properties we have seen a fair amount of trees get knocked down from storms, let alone what happens on the public grounds or tree lawns by the city‘s doings.

On private yards the scenario is the following: A few go down or are damaged, then suddenly everyone seems to freak out in fear of their home property being damaged by a future falling tree and hence tree cutting spree ensues. Even perfectly healthy ones--those that can be saved---or trees that pose little to absolutely no threat to personal property or public safety are being removed each year.

Next up, Ohio Edison sends along the tree trimming brigade which does one dandy hack job on city trees along streets. Instead of doing a “V” cut to allow power lines to pass through, trees are butchered in such a way that could eventually result in the death of the tree, and finally, more tax money spent to remove it completely. Worse is the fact that many living and healthy limbs are removed---the few that remain on the tree--while dead ones are not! I understand that power lines must have clearance around them, but does this mean we have to mutilate the tree to allow for that?

Education is an important component in helping to produce a generation that will better appreciate the value of trees in a community. Do we recognize Arbor Day in schools anymore? Perhaps we should so we can be reminded of the many benefits trees provide. Benefits like preventing soil erosion, cleaning air, reducing noise, retaining water, preventing droughts, enhancing the value of property, providing habitat for backyard friendly wildlife---and trees even act as barriers against intense summer heat or extreme winter cold and winds. These are just a few pluses many people take for granted.

For whatever reason a tree comes down, be it a storm, (which the more we remove, the more we contribute to creating the severe storms that take them down in the first place), laziness in not learning how to mulch, compost, or rake leaves---or fear of property damage from falling limbs---when one learns the purpose and many functions trees provide free of charge, it is clear to see the benefits outweighing the perceived negatives.

The biggest disappointment is that too few are replacing trees on private properties in the neighborhoods, nor is the city doing anything that substantially replaces the thousands that have been removed over recent years on the tree lawns or public grounds.

The cost of not replacing them will exceed any cost that has fear of “what might happen“, ruling people’s decision to remove them. There are many places in the world that once had forests like Ohio and later became deserts because of the loss of trees---and they could only wish for such a landscape now, boasting the kinds of trees that took many years to grow to such stately heights, yet see us ripping them down in a matter of hours.

This is an issue Warren cannot continue to ignore or go down the path it has gone down for over 10 years or we will have nothing left of our urban forest. If that happens, and all the tree services cannot make money in Warren, I guess they will have to find a way to make money planting them instead. With communities coast to coast trying to achieve more environmentally sustainable practices, the last thing we need is to have no active tree replacement plan/education.

To sum it up simply, Warren once boasted a stunning urban forest canopy, and now looks uglier as many trees slowly disappear or are dying from poor maintenance practices. Hey Warren city and residents: Try planting some for a change! You might find it a rewarding and feel good activity to do with your children and for yourself! Future generations will thank us instead of looking upon us as the plunderers who just didn’t get it.

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