Before older trees are removed, new trees should be planted if space is
available. The older tree should be pruned to keep it safe. If the tree is
growing in a low risk area, and if it is being used by wildlife, it should
not be removed. Always consider wildlife when making decisions on removal.
Always try to convince a customer that it is best to plant some new trees
before the old tree is removed.
My name is John A. Keslick, Jr. and I am from the Philadelphia area. I am a
TREE BIOLOGIST and a WRITER. I would like to become involved in
Here here John!! Good post.
I would just add that older trees ought to be thoroughly assessed for
failure risk by a qualified arborist / tree biologist, and not not merely
for need of pruning. Latent decay, poor root structure, etc. can often sneak
up on a homeowner in the guise of a tree with a healthy canopy.
Also, I would encourage folks to replace like-with-like. A thunder cloud
plum or weeping cherry is not a adequate replacement for a 90' oak or
tuliptree! Years of this sort of replacement leave behind streets that look
like most of New York City. I fault landscapers as much as their customers
for not taking the steps needed to preserve urban forest integrity and
Off the soapbox...
Mike LaMana, MS
Heartwood Consulting Services, LLC
I also recommend plenty of biodiversity. Nature rarely has a monoculture crop
everywhere you turn. There are dominant species, but there's usually a variety
of different plants mixed in just about everywhere you go.
I live in Boise, The City of Trees, and we unfortunately have Dutch
Elm Disease here and slowly all the stately elm trees that arched over
the more ritzy boulevards are succumbing to the disease. We also have
had a lot of black locust trees that have toppled in wind storms
revealing hollow trunks, the result of borers of some sort.
The city is offering trees to people in those areas where there are
"parking" stirps where trees have been removed, or people who have
yards that don't have sidewalks through them. Most of the trees are
smaller trees, with smaller leaves. Ash is one, I can't remember all
of them, but the one that I liked and so it stuck in my mind was a
Tulip tree. There was a pretty big one growing next door that had not
been well cared for..had a dead stub in the middle where a large limb
broke off, and they had a boy who thought it was great fun to beat on
the tree with his baseball bat. The tree had to be removed. I was
sad to see it go as I'd never seen one before and loved the bark on
the tree, then saw the flowers and was amazed.
Then I saw not long ago, they were poplars! Other poplars are not
such great things to be growing as they invade ditches and sewer
lines. The neighbors in that house now, planted a cottonless
cottonwood within 10 feet or less of our irrigation line!! I'm
figuring it is going to be a big problem over time. At least until
the beetle that killed the lombardy poplars on the other side of me,
maybe kill these.
However, getting back to what I started to say, the city is not
encouraging any trees other than medium sized trees for street trees.
We don't have a great many oaks, there were a bunch at a junior high I
went to, but I've not checked to see how much they've grown since
then. Most of the maples growing here are silver or norway maples. I
was thinking of planting a maple, but the norway maple next door died.
It had whole limbs dry up all of a sudden. They cut off the bad
areas, then another branch did the same.. all of a sudden dried up.
Finally, just before all the other trees started getting hints of fall
color, the whole tree dried up, leaves still green, dead. Leaves kind
of stayed on the tree until winter winds blew them off. I'm thinking
it was anthracnose or some other fungal disease, as anthracnose got my
Black Krim tomato plant, and others over the years. So, I've never
planted any trees. I can't afford to buy a tree that would provide
shade any time in my lifetime.. I'm almost 53. I could plant silver
maples, but then it'd get too big and drop branches on house and car!
They need specific and special trimming or they become major hazards.
I'd like to see more of a variety planted here. While it doesn't have
a lot of beech, hickory, oak here, I don't know why they couldn't be
grown here. Zone 6
I'm not sure I agree with such a sweeping statement. There are many cases
where replacing like with like would be inappropriate. Land uses chance.
Surrounding flora changes. The original tree might have become unsuitable
for any variety of reasons. Or the tree could have been badly sited decades
before you bought your property and have now outgrown its location, eg. too
close to a structure etc. That said, we're talking about trees that
otherwise need to come down right? For example, I have a very large, very
old Beech in the backyard. The lower level of the trunk has become hollow
with evidence of significant rot. I'm going to have a consulting arbourist
come in and take a look at it just in case it is salvageable but I'm
expecting that it will have to come down. If it does, I am unlikely to
replace it with another large tree even though there's room. Forty years
ago a number of trees (maples, pines etc.) were added to the already fairly
abundant trees and the backyard is very shady. Our neighbours have swimming
pools. We have trees. ;-) So I'm thinking in terms of an understory tree
as a replacement. Something that flowers in the spring perhaps. More
importantly, something that casts that delicate dappled shade that so many
plants do well under. And most importantly something that will be tolerant
to part shade itself throughout its lifetime. Maybe a Serviceberry.
Jim: I see your points and agree with most of them on an individual-tree
basis. However, take a step back and look at most urban forests on a
meso-scale - not an individual tree level. What I see in much of the
northeast is that towns are living off the capital of old trees they
inherited during development many years ago. Replacements are generally with
species that will result in neighborhood character DRAMATICALLY different
from what we see today or 100 years past.
Are we OK with the cumulative result of all these individual-tree decisions?
I have concerns.
Mike LaMana, MS
Heartwood Consulting Services, LLC
I can only comment on my own city, Toronto. From the air Toronto has an
immense amount of green. In the suburbs, built primarily in farmland
(another problem <g>) there are probably more trees than before it was
urbanized. In the older neighbourhoods I would venture to say there are
more trees now than, say, 100 years ago, from looking at old photographs. I
think I can accurately go a bit further and say that this is a result of
deliberate policymaking by municipal governments. So, in my part of the
world, we're OK Jack. :-)
It all depends on what you want for your city. My city is in a semiarid part
of the Northwest. We only have 3 native large trees, and a number of smaller
straggly decidous trees - ponderosa pine, douglas fir, and in moist
locations, thuja (western red cedar)are the large native conifers, which, on
their own, would make a continuous but fairly widely spaced canopy.
However, if well-watered for 3 or 4 seasons, our climate can sustain many
kinds of deciduous trees from other areas - london plane tree, maples of
many kinds, (especially norway maple), lindens, oaks, honey locusts, black
locusts, catalpas, hawthornes, spruces, firs, dogwoods, apples and
crabapples, flowering cherries, magnolias, tulip poplars, horse chestnuts -
in short, nearly every kind of tree which will grow in any zone 5/6 part of
the US. However, without supplemental watering, in 100 years or so the land
would return to the 3 native trees, because the others cannot reproduce
successfully here because of our extremely dry summers. From an ecological
viewpoint, it would be most logical to only plant the native species here to
line the streets, etc - but from an esthetic point of view, it is nice to
have the diversity of species. Birds and wildlife will find food and shelter
in the non-natives - but it is food and shelter that ends at the outskirts
of the city...after that, they have to rely solely on native species. There
have been newspaper articles recently imploring homeowners to retain and
plant ponderosa pines - because if large ones die or are taken out they are
seldom replaced. The point of the articles is that the character of the city
is defined by the 100-125 foot canopy of pines that dominates over all the
introduced deciduous trees - but once their lifespan is reached and they
start coming down in large numbers, there will not be an instant similar
forest to replace them - and none of the introduced species is as well
suited to the climate, soil, and insect life as the native pines.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.