Last week, Dominique Browning penned “When Trees Become Lethal” for Time Magazine’s Ideas blog.
We know that severe storms like Hurricane Sandy take a toll on community trees, putting our safety and property at risk. As Browning points out, though, it is important that the discussion about urban forestry not end there.
Rather, she asks what we can do to take better care of our trees, both to minimize risk and fully enjoy their enormous benefits. It’s a question of healtcare for trees and planting viability, she says.
On tree health, she cites regular pruning and maintenance, as well as hiring professionals when help is needed. Hiring cheap assistance from people without the proper credentials is a mistake. On viability, it’s all about planting the right tree in the right place. Roots need the space to grow, and trees that tower over homes and utility lines put power and property at risk during disasters.
She concludes with this:
We need to learn how to better live with our trees and move away from our simplistic understanding of them. Yes, trees are pretty and useful but they’re also a responsibility that too often people shirk. We’re well aware that cars can be dangerous and take safety precautions not to drive recklessly or in risky conditions. We have to show similar respect to these giant, powerful beings around us. They do so much for us. Let’s do more for them.
It’s a sentiment the Foundation fully shares. Many communities affected by Hurricane Sandy are still dealing with the basics – restoring power, dealing with property damage and looking after personal health and safety. But we know that as the transition to long-term recover continues, many questions remain about how to handle damaged or broken trees. If you’re seeking resources, check out our Storm Recovery Kit, which includes both written materials and videos.
We can take care of our urban forest – and effectively recover from this tragedy, while better preparing for the next one.
Photo courtesy of the National Weather Service.