Wednesday, November 16, 2011

More trees to fall?

Rosemary Street North Amherst

Shade Tree Committee Chair Hope Crolius gamely gave a brief presentation/report on the opening night of Amherst Town Meeting, where she acknowledged that "trees are not everybody's favorite part of the ecosystem about now," but implored the legislative body to "keep your faith in trees, despite any havoc they may have wrought on your cars, houses or lawns."

As she retreated from the podium, Town Meeting, uncharacteristically, applauded.

So as you can imagine, she responded cautiously last night as a homeowner on Rosemary Street, a bucolic subdivision in North Amherst built in the mid-to-late 1990s, made a pitch to whack all the healthy Norway Maple trees because they are an "invasive species," and replace them with a presumably tamer "native species."

Committee member Bob Erwin thought, after the recent devastation to our urban tree canopy, this idea was doubly bad: both the timing of this request and the precedent it may set. The seven member Shade Tree Committee took no position but suggested the homeowner poll his neighbors to ascertain their opinions.

The Shade Tree Committee is a sub-committee of the more powerful Conservation Commission, and either committee can make recommendations to the Tree Warden (Alan Snow) who has state authority to remove trees in the public way. Those who disagree and wish to appeal a decision of the Tree Warden can appeal to the Select Board who has final authority over the public ways.
Tree Warden Alan Snow

The town could charge the homeowner $55/diameter inch to have the trees taken down (most are in the 6" to 10" range) by a private contractor, also at his expense. Or if the town likes the idea of clear cutting and replanting a new species, it could all be done at taxpayer expense.

Unless of course they ask the Lorax for an opinion.

Amherst Shade Tree Committee 11/15/11


Ed said...

With all due respect to Alan Snow, whom I do know and respect, I argue that the Norway Maples should be planted BECAUSE they are an invasive tree.

It is not like this is a pristine forest folks -- you have drunken high school kids ripping limbs off and carving girlfriends' names into them, you have cars and snow plows hitting them, you have restricted surface soil forcing these trees to tap the water table to survive, and then we have winter salt and summer streetlights, neither of which are good for a tree.

Norway Maples are TOUGH. So what if there are a couple hundred seedlings on everyone's lawn in the spring, do you folk not have lawn mowers? And yes, ideally, we would only plant sugar maples but then you get one disease that takes them out and -- well, there was first the Chestnut, and then the American Elm, and how many more times do we need our urban areas deforested?

BTW, it wasn't the Norway Maples that came down last month...

Anonymous said...

Yes it was. Look at the "topped" Norway maples at the Library and the North Amherst library.