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THURSDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2005
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EDITORIAL

Losing old trees like a death in the family

Understanding the concern when a city worker narrowly escaped a falling limb from a massive oak recently in Delano Park is easy.

Understanding why another tree had to come down, given the effort a crew took to fell it, might be cause for more debate.

The city said removal became a priority two weeks ago when an employee trimming grass underneath the branches of another old tree in the park narrowly escaped the falling limb.

This week, a crew of four spent hours subduing the other tree, a 100-year-old willow oak whose diameter measured 10 feet at its massive trunk.

Finally, they called in a bulldozer, and with their chain saw cuts, took it down.

The tree showed signs of disease, but was the degree of decay enough to pronounce the entire tree, which shaded a half acre, a terminal patient?

A tree expert said it was.

Could close monitoring of the limbs and removal of diseased ones prevent another near-miss accident? Perhaps, he said, but the results would have been visually displeasing, besides the tree was dying.

But a tree that defies the teeth of chain saws and the power of a bulldozer doesn't sound terminally ill, or especially dangerous.

The tree's gone. So is another one and others are to be taken down.

A lot of people are understandably sad as well as angry about losing the trees.

Safety is always the primary concern. But let's be sure that legal liability possibilities don't always override efforts at extending the life of our old trees.

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