As I left church a couple of weeks ago, I noticed a huge base of a tree trunk on the parkway of our church property. I felt a mix of surprise, anger and sadness. Clearly it was a very large tree that I hadn’t really paid much attention to. In the coming weeks, I started seeing more signs of other trees that had been cut down. These images of previously large, beautiful trees that had stood for years, now shaved off at the ground haunted me, and I wanted to know more.
I asked a knowledgeable friend and then finally called the village forester, Rob Sproule. He told me that “my” American Elm had been identified as having the symptoms of Dutch Elm disease and therefore had been marked for removal. He also shared with me more information about the village’s parkway tree maintenance program, and I learned that, “Village foresters must continually monitor trees for damage, disease and insect infestations, with an eye toward public safety. Most trees also have a set life span. Removing trees and planting new ones is a basic part of the life cycle of an urban forest.”