Well-Behaved Trees Rarely Make History

My phone rang at about 2:00 a.m. many years ago. The voice on the other end said “Dude, the Dyerville Giant just fell over!” I couldn’t believe it, I had just had a picture taken of me hugging it less than two weeks earlier. At 364 or so feet tall, it was one of the biggest Coast Redwoods still standing anywhere on Earth.

Unless they are cut down, all trees eventually croak and fall over, or fall over and croak. All good things must come to an end eventually I guess, so maybe I should just be happy with the thought that the big girl hung around for 3500 years just waiting for me to give her one last hug…

What is the most famous (or infamous) tree in town? How about the Ponderosa Pine on Tolman Creek Rd. that blew over and turned a beautiful late model Suburban into a Frito Lay corn chip? Or maybe the Clay St. cottonwood that went through the last three 60+ m.p.h.windstorms and two VERY heavy wet snows without losing a single twig?

How about the honeylocust on “B” st. that puked a limb, and was subsequently cut down? I know the number of trees I have personally cut down over the years, or recommended that they be cut down, numbers way up in the thousands. A few of those may have been bad calls on my part, but I digress…

All trees have a history, regardless of age, and a skilled arborist must have the talent to not only analyze past behavior of a particular tree, but also the insight to predict what the tree will likely do in the future. Some arborists have that ability, either learned through experience, or just naturally…

It really comes down to ethics. Most tree guys (and gals) out there are just trying to make a living like everybody else, and hopefully doing something they love. A few that are still performing malpractice, i.e. topping, wearing hooks when pruning, writing reports that condemn a tree when it suits the person writing the check etc. KNOW they are doing the wrong thing! These practices set the industry back into the stone age! Opinions can vary among tree care professionals, so my advice is:

  1. Get more than one opinion.
  2. Trust your gut instincts, they are almost never wrong.
  3. Ask questions. If the arborist is worth their salt, they should have an answer.

Almost every time I hear “it gave no warning at all” when a tree had failed, there was some indication that failure was just around the corner.

I have called quite a few, and there are a couple trees around that just haven’t gotten around to proving me right, yet..

Most opportunity for premature tree failure is pretty obvious if you have enough experience to know what to look for, and where to look.

There are a few trees around town I wouldn’t park my worst enemy’s car under, yet I see cars parked under them every day. There are many trees that will far outlive me at the rate I’m going, but being big enough to squash me like a bug. I give them the respect they deserve.

Trees don’t want to misbehave, heck, they don’t WANT to do anything.

They just are what they are.

Most of the time they will let us know what they are thinking.

If we would just ask.  

If we would just listen.

Casey P. Roland Tree Care
(541) 488-0782

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