Tuesday, September 26, 2023
Letters to the Editor

I like trees, but…

Dear Editor,
Our recent encounter with Mother Nature on a bad day has left me with house damage and renewed my long-held belief that there is a limit to my adoration of trees. A tree, too close to your house or other building, is a potential danger. I was reminded of that, when an ice-laden branch came crashing down from a tall pine, just beside my house. It bounced off the roof, and neatly bumped the top third of my chimney right off, before smashing the railing of my deck. And that was a fortunately lightweight lesson, compared to what it could have been. That tall pine is beginning to look like standing lumber to me, but I’ll need an expert with equipment to take it down to sawmill size, without destroying the two houses nearby.
A tree, twenty feet or so away from your house is a wonderful thing. A hardwood tree to the south will provide shade in summer, but allow sunshine in the winter. Any tree, overhanging your house can damage the roof, even if it doesn’t drop limbs. Birch trees are awful for damaging shingles, because of the sap that drips below.
Touring the countryside, post-storm, I saw several places where plantation trees had bent and snapped, and where the power lines were near enough, the overweight top-heavy trees took out the electricity for everyone further down the line. Time to consider; is the investment in tree futures worth the damage to power lines?
And don’t get me started on Manitoba Maples - my nomination for the Pontiac’s least desirable tree. Touring around town, there are piles of limbs everywhere, and it’s almost all Manitoba Maple. It is a fast-growing species, so I suppose people see it as instant landscaping. But they are ugly, fragile, ferocious competitors, and no good for firewood when they come down. Plus, they attract Box Elder bugs, those red and black half inch creatures that are swarming around everywhere these days. Box Elder is another name for Manitoba Maple, and those bugs, while not particularly harmful, are nurtured by ‘Mani’ s, until they hasten the demise of the tree.

Robert Wills
Shawville and Thorne

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