Loss of a tree friend   wad-@comcast.net
  Apr 08, 2007 17:41 PDT 

Today I attended Easter services at the church where I was reared. The Harmonyville Church of the Bretheren was built in 1846 on land donated by the Keim family. The Keim family was granted the land by William Penn in the late 1600's to early 1700's. The church yard is dotted with several white oaks and some hickory. Twenty years ago, I was asked how old the trees were in my opinion. I had said they were at least 150 years old.
From birth, I spent nearly every Sunday, some Saturdays and three weeks in the summer at day camp here. My Mother was the camp nurse before I was able to attend, but she brought me along. In the parking lot, surrounded by asphalt, is a kidney shaped island that contained two white oaks. I have never measured them, as they were niether fat, or tall. My estimate is that they are 11-12' in circumference and 80-90 feet tall. Unassuming never the less. They are leftovers from the original woods, and several similar trees still exist around the church and in the strip of woods between the church and the Keim/Kolle farm. I remember fighting everyday at camp for a spot on the roots to sit and eat my lunch. There were about five or seven large roots that a child could sit on and set their lunch on to eat. It was coveted. A nice shady spot close to the four square court.

Today I was shocked to see one of the trees laying on the ground in the upper part of the gravel parking area. I quickly searched the the grounds to see which tree met it's end. I then saw the stump, and my heart sank. My old friend was now just a stump. The other tree now had the appearance of leaning away from the stump as if afraid. They had grown up together and took on equal parts of the available light to form one giant canopy. I immediately went to the stump and dropped down on it and began to count the rings. 246! That acorn sprouted in 1761. I guess I was off on my estimate, but not the way I had intended to find out.

I will miss this tree, and the churchyard will never look the same to me. The sad part is that the tree had dead in it's top, and that is why it was removed. The trunk was completely solid in the 40' of trunk I saw there. I wish I could have helped make the decision. Oh well. I hope they leave the stump. I intend to measure and document the remaining trees on my next visit, as there are bigger white oaks there.

Side note:
I also visited a cemetery that was unknown to me. It was an old family plot for the Potts family. It had a couple of Revolutionary markers and some civil war markers, along with a number of large tulip poplars. The oldest death was 1782. Many markers were simply stones at the head and foot with a letter etched in them. Very cool.

Re: Digest for ENTST-@topica.com, issue 1829   Rowan
   Apr 09, 2007 22:39 PDT 

I'm thinking about the "Loss of A Friend..." I first came across ENTS
a year ago, when the Wisconsin state champion white oak was cut down,
and I was fruitlessly trying to save twigs of the tree by bud-grafting
(it didn't work.)
That tree was more than an old friend to me...Old, too; 192 rings to
the heart-rot hollow; probably ~250 as the minimum reasonable age.
That magnificent oak was cut down by a farmer who didn't like people
coming to see the tree.

A year later, this spring, just two weeks ago, a beautiful, huge old
sycamore, 20.5 feet in girth, was cut down on the Ohio State
University campus. The bitter irony is that this tree was cut by the
university to make way for a new, "green" student union building. This
beautiful old sycamore tree, along with 4 century-old oaks, a number
of ninety year old elms, and some sugar maples were all cut in the
name of this "environmentally friendly" new building.

Both cases make me wonder what to think of our society--especially,
the hypocrisy of Ohio State's "greenwashing" the construction project.
The construction plan calls for creating a "green corridor" of
newly-planted trees in front of the Union...nobody on the planning
committee seemed to think about how not in their lifetime (or their
children's, for that matter) will a sycamore like that one grow there
again. As long as our society views trees like cornstalks that can be
planted and reaped, we will continue to, well, go the direction we're
Re: Loss of a friend, back to Rowan   wad-@comcast.net
  Apr 10, 2007 05:48 PDT 

Unfortunately it happens much too often. We had a similar instance here at work. I work for the Sisters of St. Francis. They are very environmentally minded, and one of their works is an organic farm. They decided to build a barn on the farm, and sought grant money to put solar panels on the roof. They angled the building just so to collect as much sun as possible etc... The report given to them said it would be like planting a bunch of trees, and the reduced pollution would be this much, and it went on. The savings in dollars was tabulated also. What they didn't consider was the placement of the barn. Even after my informing them to place the barn further away from the wood line, they plopped it in the root zone of a 100 year old ash tree growing on the edge of the woods. They didn't want it out in the middle of the fields.   Never mind the 20 or so smaller trees that were cleared to install the barn. In the long run the ash had to be removed because it shaded the solar
panels too much. Since the barn was already in place it cost 3500 to remove the tree. I imagine if they sat down and tallied the value to the environment of the 20 small trees and the one large one combined with the removal cost of the ash, it isn't that green of an idea. I wonder if people will ever think through a project to the point that it is as green as possible. I often think it is more publicity and marketing than anything else.

RE: Loss of a friend, back to Rowan   Matthew Hannum
  Apr 17, 2007 15:15 PDT 

Sad stories indeed... The Ohion State one deserves some sort of prize -
cutting down the trees to make way for an environementally friendly
area... argh!

Part of the problem is that most people simply are not taught to "think
green." Basic environmental awareness is not taught at any level in our
schools, and the amount of ignorance in the world is staggering. Worst
is the willful ignorance - those who chose to remain uninformed since
learning something might take up their time and cause them to have to
think of others or "outside the box." Still, most people know little to
nothing about trees, tree care, or the environment beyond basic stuff
such as "don't pollute." It's just so sad, really, and so needless.

Here's my own example: The "monument to failed real estate greed" just
up the road from me. Take a good-sized woodland (though probably lacking
any large trees of note) - a couple of hundred acres, I think, so it
would have been a modest park-size, and then cut it all down to build a
unwanted and completely unneccessary shopping mall. Then, after cutting
down all the trees and leaving nothing but bare dirt, don't bother
building the mall! Everybody loses!