Having residential trees can be blessing or curse
BY ROD WALTON World Staff Writer
Monday, November 19, 2012
11/19/12 at 7:06 AM
Because I Said So is a blog written by six parents and one grandparent.
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It's a sad day at our little white house in the double cul-de-sac. We no longer have any trees in our yards.
Truthfully, this last one I don't mourn so much. We bought our house thrilled about the giant hackberry looming over the backyard. Now we're relieved that it's gone.
Forgive us our naiveté, as for whatever reason our previous abodes had no impressive trees of which to praise. We looked at other homes and their big oaks or pecans and, frankly, we committed the biblical sin of envy. We wanted our own big tree.
Bad choice. The hackberry, pruned by someone else to Bunyanesque heights, was nothing that the kids could climb. It just hovered over us, raining down branches big and small every once in a while and looking like it might put a tremendous hole in the roof at any moment.
One day, push came to shove. A big Friday windstorm dropped some potentially deadly limbs down and crushed Cookie's dog house in the meantime. I really hate spending money I didn't plan to spend, but fortunately, I had a window of time in which to afford taking that bad boy down once and for all.
So we did. Bradley & Sons Tree Service of Bartlesville did quick work of it, although they were briefly delayed by the big beehive contained in a hollow that ran up the main trunk. No worries to bee lovers: Kyle Bradley safely took a big part of trunk home with him in hopes of a bee-keeping friend taking them in.
Three years ago, though, we lost a front yard tree we truly loved. I think it was an Amur maple, with little whirlybird seed pods and all kinds of low branches tempting to the youngster in all of us.
Our wonderful front-yard friend Amur was almost more big shrub than little tree. When we first moved there its branches offered the children a place to hang out and attach ropes for climbing and swinging. Soon enough we had preschool and elementary-age neighbors coming over and joining the Walton clan seated on the friendly, low-hanging limbs.
We called it "The Gathering Tree." For years it sported all manner of scars and crayon marks and odd little ropes tied at various bends and elbows. I have wonderful memories of driving home from work only to see seven or eight cul-de-sac kids, including mine, hanging out there talking or playing games.
We adored the Gathering Tree. With time, alas, its leaves started showing strange spots and unhealthy looking sores. I didn't know what any of that meant, but the true meaning became clear when some branches stopped producing leaves or whirlybird seed pods.
The Gathering Tree was dying. We let it slowly fade away up until the summer of 2009, when we started worrying that some child was going to step out on a branch that would collapse. So we cut it down and that was that.
I don't shed tears for trees, but we all really missed that one. It's sort of like seeing your child leave their last day of elementary school. It's OK, but something has changed forever.
The Amur and the hackberry were as different as night and day, front yard and back yard. One was small and inviting, one huge and foreboding. One offered swing rides and chin ups, the other a horde of relatively gentle bees and the potential for ice storm calamity.
And now they are both gone. My long-term goal is to let the yard stay barren until next year and then plant another potential gathering tree. I'm open to ideas for a medium-sized arboreal miracle, which can provide good shade, future climbing opportunities and yet nothing that will overwhelm the property.
Rod Walton 918-581-8457