Archive for May, 2009

Many Trees, One Warden

May 1st, 2009

The large and aged maple on our sidewalk gave it up in a huge wind gust today. It dropped a substantial limb on the street and our van.

Last year, the arborist who directed the major pruning of the American beech in our backyard — heck, that is our backyard — said the maple was not long for the world. He may be right about that, but he figured it was the large dead limb to the east that would go first. Then, he predicted, the two large forks on the west side would begin cracking under the imbalance.

Instead, a 7-inch-thick limb from the right side fell today. Spouting a profusion of fresh leaves, it looked healthy enough. Yet the point where it broke off shows the nasty darkness of vascular disease.

maple logsCost center three and I set about using the wee chainsaw on the biggest parts and a bow saw on the medium ones. We snapped or stomped the kindling-sized remainders. We ended up with a few fires’ worth.

Before we started, we moved the limb from the roof of the van and the sidewalk so we could work. The van has only a few scratches. Fortunately, it appears as though the limb hit the sidewalk first or simultaneously. My wife heard the gust and a big noise but was not alarmed enough to look out. I was in the upstairs and back and didn’t hear anything. I just saw the van covered in foilage when I opened the front door.van with limb

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I called the tree warden. Apparently Boston has one for thousands of public trees. The arborist said the warden has volunteer helpers. Clearly though, he must be hopelessly behind in work, being so outnumbered by the Ents of Beantown.

The city doesn’t make it easy to find the warden, not it its directory or a site search. A document said all public trees fall under the Parks Department. I called the main number there and the woman who answered switched me.

By the bye, in my quick research I ran across the tree-hearing procedure.  Apparently if you want them to murder some healthy tree for an aesthetic or whatever reason, you need to apply, get a hearing and if approved, pay $250 a diameter inch for them to do the foul deed.

Their trees that are sick or dangerous get free pruning or removal…eventually.

The fellow on the phone, whom I assume was a volunteer, took lots of information. He wanted to be sure it was a city tree and not on my property. He also wanted to know: 1) the size of the limb, 2) the general condition of the tree, 3) what the arborist said, 4) whether I thought pruning it would be sufficient, and of course my location and contact information. When he heard that the arborist figured there was a good chance that the big part of the trunk would eventually fall on the house across the street, he said, “I’ll put you in the system.”

I’ll track how long it will take this overworked one-man sub-department to suss the old maple. Than I’ll note what they do.

It’s a glorious tree, albeit old and worn. It has been immortalized, at least for us, in our dining room by our artist friend Savannah (a.k.a. Marion Etheredge).  It would grand if the warden and his worker bees can trim it and give it another decade or so.

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