We need to better appreciate Greenwich’s trees before it’s too late

FI-Letter-to-the-EditorTo the Editor

Growing up in Greenwich, I developed a fond appreciation for the town’s natural beauty, particularly its impressive collection of old, native and sometimes even historic trees.

As a child, I climbed them. As a teen, I ignored them. Now, as an adult, I study, observe and admire them. They are seemingly everywhere, but if we don’t pause to look up and see their endless display of color and beauty, they might not be there when we go back to visit.

The street where I grew up in Riverside is still lined with towering old red and white oaks, maples, tulips and even a shagbark hickory (one of my favorites). At nearly all times of the year, these trees and the canopy that they provide are absolutely breathtaking. But sadly, with every passing season that I am away from my old neighborhood, things change, trees fall in storms and others are cut down unnecessarily or lost as a house is bulldozed and another one is built in its place.

To homeowners, if you are worried about a tree falling on your house, consult with a certified arborist before doing any tree work. TheInternational Society of Arboriculture (ISA), has a website where you can search for a trained and educated arborist in your area, and not just someone with a chainsaw and a pickup truck.

To builders and developers, think about saving an old tree and the countless benefits that are associated with doing so. After construction is complete, you have a nice, new home that even has an established landscape to go along with it, not to mention put the new home in scale, and improve its overall value.

If saving the property’s existing trees is not feasible, consider replacing them with the native species that have proven themselves to be so invaluable.

For those of you who really want to make a difference, plant a native tree in your yard. It will beautify your yard and your neighborhood, add value to your home, provide food and habitat for birds and may even become a good spot for the next generation to climb. As the saying goes, “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The next best time is today.”

Ask your local nursery, visit the Greenwich Audubon’s website, or consider checking out The Native Plant Center at Westchester Community College’s website for a list of recommended native plants (Sunywcc.edu/about/the-native-plant-center/plants/ and click on Plants for Westchester.)

Go out and observe, appreciate, and admire our town’s amazing trees. We live in such a naturally beautiful town, and our trees need to be cared for and saved.

 

Scott McDermott
Greenwich

 

The author is a gardener and ISA Certified Arborist NOFA accredited in organic land care.

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