Saturday, January 30, 2016

Tree fear

Lemon-scented Gum, Shenton Park

The local paper ran this front page this week. They love these stories. It feeds the fear and fear sells.

A large Lemon-scented Gum (Corymbia citriodora) had dropped some branches on a resident's car and he was worried about worse to come.

My view of these things was pretty much determined at a site meeting I had with an Arborist when I was Manager Parks and Gardens for a local Council.

The circumstances were very similar: large Eucalypt growing over small house, worried resident.

I was a tad worried too.

After some time inspecting the tree the Arborist said "the tree is fine but it should be put on a regular inspection program - including root plate and aerial inspections - and any remedial works carried out as required".

Still somewhat sceptical, I said: "Let me ask you this [Fred]: if you lived in this house would you let your daughter sleep in that front room?"

Without a blink of the eye the Arborist said "if the tree is managed in the way I just described, absolutely, no hesitation at all."

I had known this Arborist for many years. Apart from being the No.1 tree person in Perth in my opinion, he was just a genuine guy. Hearing this from him that day had a significant effect on me and caused me to re-think some of my views about the risks of living with large trees.

Mind you, the most important word in the Arborist's last statement is probably the first word: "If…"

What did Winston Churchill say? "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance".


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