Thoughts on dead wood in trees.
It’s important to change the common notions on what makes a tree beautiful, because if we are to live with any responsibility for our planet, it requires both environmental mindfulness, and an awareness of the impacts we impose on other animals and plants we share our space with.
One of the most common things I do as an arborist is remove dead wood from trees. It’s OK to leave some, or even all dead wood in your trees. That’s a strange idea coming from an arborist, isn’t it? Just remove the dead wood and make the tree look pretty.
Not all trees have to look perfect and neat. Consider this: Oftentimes the most beautiful, revered trees are old and haggard. Those trees are considered pristine because they are actual pillars of their communities. All parts of the trees, either live or dead, support a litany of other organisms by providing food and shelter.
If you look at the bark of a tree, you see lichen. On the leaves, you can find insects feeding and fighting. In cavities, woodpeckers, squirrels, or maybe even raccoons. The dead parts support life too of course: fungi and other microbes decompose dead tissue, contributing to the nitrogen cycle. Amphibians live beneath rotting logs, too.
It must be stated, of course you should remove dead wood out in certain instances -- a large dead branch over a house, or high traffic area is hazardous. For some beautification purposes too, a front-yard tree should look however you’d like it to look.
Wildlife conservation isn’t just something forest rangers or scientists do-- it’s something everybody can and should do. Every small act counts, and that’s the only way these concepts work.
I’d especially like to encourage those of us involved in the fields of urban forestry to employ environmental mindfulness. First and foremost, tree first.
#arborist #arboriculture #mindfulness #environment #ecology #thursday #longwinded #rant #reading #animals #wildlife #habitat #conservation #nature #earth