In some ways, trees are just like people. Some are tall and skinny like Poplars, while others are short and wide like Crab-apples. And unlike some people who get to live to a ripe old age, no one gets to be as old as trees do, with some of the oldest living trees being over 4,000 years old!
Photo below left: A beautiful tree showing it’s inherent shape and below right A legacy tree that’s been allowed to achieve its destiny.
When we plant a tree, we hope that it will live its best life and mature to a grand specimen, all the while providing us humans with clean fresh oxygen that we need to breathe on this beautiful planet of ours. And we desperately need trees! We are projected to lose 30% of our tree cover in the area just to the Emerald Ash Borer alone. Since trees absorb carbon dioxide, they are really important in the fight of our lives – the Climate Crisis. Plus they not only make our city beautiful but help to lower summer temperatures in urban areas. Recent research show that they make us happier – mental health is better in areas of higher tree canopy. It has been shown that a tree filled street can positively influence depression!
Sadly, some tree practices that are prevalent in this area and likely done with good intentions, are very harmful to trees and ensure that the tree will die an early death. It is the practice of “topping trees”, in the hope that a taller tree will become or remain small. Perhaps you have noticed this. It is especially visible in the winter months when the leaves are off and one can see the structure of the trees clearly. You can observe that trees mostly have a leader that reaches straight up from the trunk and all the other branches create the shape of the tree depending on the variety. “Topping “ trees are like an amputation that leaves tree limbs disfigured and open to disease and rot. People actually pay a tree company to carry out this harmful practice. This is not like pruning fruit trees or trimming shrubs and hedges, which are done carefully and with a purpose of increasing fruit yields or revitalizing old growth. Below are two trees that have been topped and permanently damaged – sadly a common sight.
Did you know that the Parks and Landscape Department of the City of Cornwall will plant a tree free for you, at your request on your boulevard. They have a list of suitable trees, with descriptions and photos, for you to choose from. They also have a Commemorative Tree Planting program whereby, for a fee, they will plant a tree on public land in memory of someone or for a special celebration or occasion. For more info on this, visit www.cornwall.ca and for more information about Transition Cornwall+ visit www.transitioncornwall.com
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