Guest Rant by Wendy Kiang-Spray
I am not an arborist. Nor am I a landscape architect, city planner, neighborhood developer, or anything of the sort. This is why I’m so confused about the planting of large trees under phone and power lines. Throughout my neighborhood, these trees grow so large that they need to be viciously pruned regularly. The beautiful color this time of year highlights only the part of the tree that actually exists. It’s impossible to admire the gorgeous trees in my community with their brilliant oranges and golds and not notice that through the top center, many trees are cleaved practically in half. It always makes me think of the T-1000 in Terminator 2. Unlike the liquid-metal robotic villain in the movie though, the poor trees can’t recompose.
A little over 10 years ago, I planted a Southern magnolia about 5 feet from my house. That…might be a problem if the tree grows to its full size. But hey, I was young, just bought a house, and nothing makes one feel more adult than planting a tree. All I knew at the time was that it was pretty and I wanted it. But the arborists, or city planners, or landscape architects, don’t they know better? Shouldn’t they have better options for types of trees that should be planted right up under the telephone and power lines? Doesn’t it make more sense to choose the right kind of tree rather than sending an army of trucks out to whack the tops of these way-too-tall trees every year? Perhaps there’s some very good explanation for this. Just a layman here. Can someone help me understand?
Wendy Kiang-Spray is a freelance garden writer working on her first book about growing and cooking Chinese vegetables. She gardens in Rockville, Maryland and volunteers with the DC Master Gardeners. Follow her garden happenings at Greenish Thumb or on Facebook.