I was recently contacted by a Homeowners Association to provide a consultation about the trees in their neighborhood. As with many sites like this one, the planting strips between the sidewalk and street were adorned with the types of trees that are NOTORIOUS for buckling concrete, causing damage to underground utilities, and raising havoc with asphalt.
On the good side however, the trees were of size that cast a good deal of shadow that made the August stroll a comfortable one!
Beautiful mature trees that made for a pleasant atmosphere among the sea of hardscape… That in all likelihood would have to be removed in the not too distant future, due to their aggressive rooting behavior. What is the fix? How can a design architect, city commission, or landscape contractor approve of such a time bomb? Were the property owners warned that this planting plan was going to dash their plans for a nice cool evening walk in 15 years or so?
Now we are faced with the prospect of removing this canopy and starting all over again, or are we? The installation of pavers, or a rubber sidewalk may buy us some time. A rotational planting program with alterations such as “bump-outs” in key areas may work as well. Planting smaller species of trees, or just having the idea that our neighborhood will always have a temporary urban forest, with a comprehensive removal and replacement schedule may be the only realistic solution. And as always, never forget that EVERY tree is temporary!
The perfect tree? I have them for sale! They get to be exactly 32 feet tall, the trunk diameter gets no larger than 16.5 inches, they never drop anything (leaves, fruit/seeds etc.) never need pruning, irrigation, mulching, fertilization, look fabulous, smell wonderful, cast a perfect shadow, never die or get sick and birds and kids love ‘em! They are only one million dollars each and I deliver and plant them for free! I only have to sell one!