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a downtown stroll...

Friday, October 28, 2016
... on a beauty-full fall day.  Thursday, just after noon, along with several master gardening friends who were interested in attending the talk-and-walk about trees in the city. We went aroaming around several blocks, stopping numerous times to look at trees, as our leader, Dorothy, Director of Trees Columbus (in her gorgeous cowgirl boots) shared info. about various species. Discussing their growth habits and overall health when planted in urban setting.

It was interesting to hear about the different types of trees, and learn that some will actually thrive in an environment where others are doomed from the minute they are placed in the hole. We saw several examples of trees that should have never been placedd in small raised planters surrounded by paving and concrete sidewalks, obviously struggling to survive. And others that were a far better choice for planting in that narrow strip of grass between streets and sidewalks. Trees are often butchered by utility contractors, trimmed to the point of abuse to prevent damage to power lines. Many times trees that will grow far too tall are planted too close to utilities, and inevitably mistreated as they mature.

One interesting bit of trivia is there are certain trees that have small, narrow willow-type leaves the city crews love because when they shed in the fall the leaves will easily pass through drainage systems rather than clogging up storm drains and causing flooding. Dorothy noted as times have changed and trees have gone in and out of favor, ones that have been historically planted in commercial or urban settings are no longer popular. A case in point: Bradford pear trees with the historically 'weak crotches' that cause limbs to break, disfiguring the tree, and inviting pests to invade. They are beautiful when they bloom in the spring, as well as turning glorious colors in the fall, but not good for city landscaping: clogging drainage systems and needing pruning. And then there are ginkos that were once so desirable, even though they drop messy fruit and smell terrible,  now unwelcome in densely populated areas. Ginkos are so eye-catching in the fall when they turn golden yellow, but no one wants to clean up the mess when the leaves all fall, practically overnight.

Many trees in the city get damaged by delivery trucks breaking off limbs when traversing city streets. And many get abused by city workers who mow too close, or come by with string trimmers and slice into bark at the base. I guess it's a hard life being a tree in the city, in places where the earth gets compacted and they struggle to survive, blistering heat in the summer with insufficient water, air pollution, stuff that drips out of engines of vehicles and leached into the soil.

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