Neighbors have decorated our beautiful, ancient oak (at Volberg and Harper) with expressions of love and support in its fight for survival.
I'm going to write a brief story now about a tree, which I believe gives me the background for writing the remainder of that which is in this message about an imperiled magnificent old tree. — Eva Nason
My Story: My mom, grandmom and I moved to Harper St. when I was 5 in 1945. In the backyard of our main house my mom planted a pecan tree. She did not properly prune it as a young tree to have one leader. Therefore, the trunk grew to head-height and then separated into 3 stems which grew outwardly of equal size. In my 20s, one of these 3 stems split off from the tree leaving a huge wound all the way down the trunk. As well, there was some splitting in the crotch between the 2 remaining stems. We were never people with money to hire others to do much of anything, but we did attempt to take care of things as best we could. I spent a number of days attempting to understand what I might do to help the pecan tree heal itself and setting my ladders up to inhabit the tree through the time necessary to hand bore all the way through the 2 large remaining stems so that I could insert a long metal bar through each stem. The outer end of the bar had threads onto which I could screw a large bolt to keep the bar in place and the inner end had an eye through which I could run a cable that would connect to a turn-buckle that connected to a similar cable coming from the other stem of the tree. Using the turn-buckle, the cables could be tightened to hold the two stems together to prevent further cracking apart in the crotch. The huge wound was cared for to help it heal over the years - which it has done with no sign that it was ever there even though for a long time it was obvious there was rot down into the tree. 50 years later, the pecan tree still graces the back yard of my home, its turn-buckle and cables still in place. From time to time I have it selectively pruned to keep the weight off. End of personal tree story.
At present there is a very large oak tree (59") near the intersection of Harper St. and Defoor Ave. for which a permit has been given for its removal. It is in the side yard of the first house on Harper after the small church. It borders the side street (Volberg) off Harper which separates the church from the first house on Harper. It is a widely spreading tree which has an enormous presence near highly-trafficked Harper St. and shades all of the entrance into Volberg St. There is decay in the top of the 2 laterally spreading massive limbs which send canopy over Volberg. There is another perhaps even more massive limb which spreads a large upright canopy over the front yard of the house which adjoins it. There is no decay in this limb as it extends upward from the trunk. There is no central leader to the tree because it has been cut out by the power company to allow power lines to go through the center. Consequently, the tree rotted down into its center and pretty obviously compensated over the years by growing massive side limbs. The tree has been declared to be hazardous.
If the tree were suddenly mine and I had the vigor I once had, this is what I suspect I would do as a non-trained tree person. I would try to discover the bottom of the pockets of decay in the 2 massive limbs which send canopy over Volberg Street. I would bore a small channel from the bottom of a pocket of decay down through the limb and insert a drainage tube. I would attempt to clean out the pocket of decay and then I would hire a tree company to do selective pruning of the canopy of these limbs to take a large amount of the weight off the limbs. Then I would see what I could do to enhance the trunk-level endurance of the massive non-decayed limb which sends canopy over the front yard. Finally, I would remember John Lewis on the bridge (as I shall for a lot of things going on in my life) and go forward as unafraid as I could knowing that it was right that this enormously vigorous tree deserved to be given the chance to live out its life and continue to be as greatly appreciated as it presently is by most who know it based on the great beauty and comforting shade and animal habitat it gives to this area of our neighborhood and, far more than that, the enormous benefit it gives to the larger environment we all share. And I would say what surely we all know, that there is a great deal of serendipity in which tree limbs and which trees will fall, and the massiveness of the limbs of my tree with the care I have given them surely render them no more likely to fall than many another we would never suspect.
The other possibility for what I would day-dream of doing - as not being the owner of the property with the imperiled tree - would be to approach one of the "obscenely" rich members of American society asking that he or she offer to buy this small property for a price the owner surely couldn't refuse and do as much as could be done to safe-guard the tree. Then, the new rich owner of the property, acknowledging the serendipitous nature of life and tree limb falling and car accidents and possible danger from so many quarters, would allow the tree to continue in its vigorous living until perhaps it shows signs of wanting to give up by means of die-back and other tree maladies, all the time knowing that his or her "obscene" wealth will be able to absorb any of the oh-so-frequent lawsuits present-day society loves to initiate.
Back to reality: Since I have no control over the tree to see if it could be made reasonably safe and there is nothing to prevent the property owner from having a tree removal crew working on removing it at this very moment, then even if I knew where to start in finding the "obscenely" rich person to whom I referred above to whom to appeal, there may be no time. How much easier it will be for this property owner to just go ahead and cut it down and not have to be bothered again about it. The expressions of dismay about the loss of this tree which are already coming in from what I wrote yesterday may not be of concern to the property owner and my experience tells me they would have no effect on people in the City arborist department. Partly I write this and send it out as far as I know how with some minutely slim hope there is someone who might know something that could be done. I know not what else to do in view of the imminent threat to this magnificent tree.