Sunday, December 21, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

A stately old companion faces a tough future

MarionFranckW

By
From page A10 | November 17, 2013 |

Recently I got bad news about a loved one. It came from our tree man, Jim, who told me he had brought an arborist over to our cabin near Coloma.

“My arborist never says this,” Jim began. “But he said it this time. He said that if his family lived under that tree, he’d take it down.”

The tree I love is at least 150 years old, a towering ponderosa pine only 20 feet from our country cabin. It was there before we built and before regulations required greater distances between buildings and trees. It’s close to the house, but that’s why I love it.

My husband and I have tried to take good care of our loved one. Each year an expert comes to spray for bark beetles. We lay hose in rings around the tree and give it extra, well-distributed water. I have noticed brown needles, more than on our other ponderosas, but the tree always greened up when the rains came.

Two of my bird feeders hang close to its patchworked bark. They draw a lot of customers — goldfinches, juncos, sparrows — leading me to spend many hours watching. I can barely imagine what it would be like to look out our window and not see that massive trunk.

“I’m not saying it will fall tomorrow,” Jim continued. “It could be five years, 10 years, 20. But it’s leaning towards your cabin and if it falls it will crush the cabin and the cars behind it. You’d lose everything.

“Of course, it won’t be easy to remove.”

This is true. Only a crane could lift the ponderosa without damaging the cabin or other trees. Once the big guy is down, carting it off to a mill will be pricey.

Jim offers a stopgap measure.

“We’ll run a length of polycord between your ponderosa and the oak behind. If we monitor that cord, we’ll get a warning if the lean increases.”

We talk prices, which are high for everything except polycord.

————

Alone after Jim leaves, I lean back in my chair, thoughts swirling. Trees. On few topics have my views changed so radically.

As a young person, I was not indifferent to trees. Growing up in the East among the lush green of spring and the bright reds of fall, I found trees beautiful. I liked their fruit. I took interest in the birds, especially when they nested.

But I never associated trees with time. Elementary school teachers taught us to count rings, of course, and told us that some trees grow more quickly than others, but I never sat down and compared the human lifespan, especially my own lifespan, to that of a tree.

It took getting older and buying wooded property until I finally understood the truth about trees.

They grow slowly. You can’t rush them. You can only wait.

When you’re old, you need to appreciate and preserve the trees that are here already because you won’t be around for new ones to get big.

This is why the elimination of diseased walnut trees on Russell Blvd pained me. That stately line of trees has long been a point of beauty in Davis, and although many trees remain, the line is broken now and some of the replacement trees are very small. Re-achieving symmetry could take another 200 years, if anyone cares enough to stay on it.

Plans to fell old trees for The Cannery project and replace them with saplings also distress me.

Trees require planning like few other things, and I have a personal example of the problem with adding new trees.

In 2003 our country neighbor threw up an eyesore metal barn very close to our cabin. In response, we planted a valley oak and 15 redwoods to screen it.

Now, 10 years later, the oak is gorgeous but it doesn’t cover much. The redwoods are bushy, but not tall. By the time I’m 80, they’ll provide a good screen. When I’m 100, some will probably have to be cut down due to crowding. When I’m 150, the remaining redwoods will be magnificent.

That’s the kind of timeline you have to think about when it comes to trees.

————

When I think about our ponderosa, I don’t dwell on the money, although taking it down will be expensive. I don’t think about the danger of the tree falling on our cabin, although that’s my motive for action.

I think about the tree itself. Mighty. Beautiful. Long-lived. Much longer than I. We counted 142 rings on another ponderosa that died from bark beetles when we first bought our place.

The ponderosa next to our cabin was jostled by our building process 12 years ago, possibly leading to its weakened condition. Left alone in the forest, this gentle giant would have lived until it died naturally, but in the name of safety we may soon cut its life short.

I feel sadly responsible. When it comes down, I will grieve.

— Marion Franck lives in Davis with her family. Reach her at marionf2@gmail.com

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    What’s new at UCD? Construction projects abound

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    No-nonsense Musser voted Citizen of the Year

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Sharing a meal, and so much more

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Brinley Plaque honors environmental stalwart

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    North Korea proposes joint probe over Sony hacking

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    AP sources: Cops’ killer angry over Garner death

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Raul Castro: Don’t expect detente to change Cuban system

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Police seek help in finding runaway twin girls

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    Downtown crash results in DUI arrest

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    March trial date set in Davis molest case

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Enterprise plans Christmas, New Year’s holiday hours

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
     
    Luminaria display planned in West Davis

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Soup’s On will benefit NAMI-Yolo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Supplies collected for victims of abuse

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Donors, volunteers honored on Philanthropy Day

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Surprise honor is really nice, dude

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Konditorei presents free holiday concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    .

    Forum

     
    E-cigs surpass regular cigarettes among teens

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

    It’s not a pretty picture

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B4

     
    Google me this: Should I hit that button?

    By Marion Franck | From Page: B4

    Too late to pick a fight

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    All police need to humanize

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Are we only a fair-weather bike city?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Join us in making our world more just

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    The electronic equivalent of war

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

     
    The Green House effect: Homes where the elderly thrive

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A11

    .

    Sports

     
    Stenz shines as DHS girls take a tournament title

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie Manzanares not quite finished carrying the rock

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    UCD women look to improve, despite game at No. 7 Stanford

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Second-half run spurs Aggie men to 8-1

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    49ers fall to San Diego in overtime

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Marrone Bio expands its product reach in Latin America

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Sierra Northern Railway names CEO

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Sink your teeth into Vampire Penguin

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, December 21, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B8