10/18/2006

An Example on Timon Street

I know...some people are still not plugged in. And many people are still with out essential utilities and don't know what to expect when they return to their homes, days after "Arbor-geddon" here in Buffalo, NY. Yet, despite the pressing and overwhelming obstacles, looking forward is what we do...

I had the unique opportunity last Friday afternoon to tour the City with fixBuffalo reader and urbanist, Chris Hawley. Numerous conversations with other readers and people, just like our selves, capable of influencing and shaping City policy. Common denominator is - long term. Unlike housing related issues and the madness surrounding vinyl victorians - sad subject of additional posting - every person that I talk to intuitively knows and understands that the City's tree and forestry program must, really must, be directed towards the future, long term.

For example in a recent short post - Timon's Trees - I featured this pic looking north on Timon Street from Dodge. Friday afternoon Chris and I observed just a few branches down along Timon, nothing big...the street was completly passable in the car. Footballs and snowballs were happening here. Which leads me to the reason for this post.
DSCN3998
Someone, don't know who - would like to, had the foresight to plant the right trees along Timon Street a few generations ago. These Sycamore rows should serve as an example of successful city tree planting. Yes, something to follow. Short term and politically expedient solutions should be avoided. What we are looking at is rebuilding in such a manner that our children's grandchildren will step back and say, "wow...look at those Sycamore trees," as we do today on Timon Street.

For additional examples of long term and ancestral thinking, check out The Long Now Foundation. The sort of thinking we need - today, now - is perhaps best embodied in this story...
Well there’s one very famous example, it’s an English example, there’s a college in Oxford called New College, which was built about five hundred years ago. The college is a big high building and it has very thick oak beams to support the ceiling. About twenty years ago those beams started to appear to be in such bad condition that it was necessary to replace them, so the dean of the college said to the head gardener - because Oxford has a lot of lands and forests, actually all over England – “We need a lot of oaks - what shall we do?” And the gardener said when they built that college they planted a grove of oaks, to replace those beams, and so they had been planted five hundred years in advance of their need – so that’s a kind of long term thinking.
I don’t know that anybody is doing that kind of thing now.
We should.

update 10/19/06...1pm...fixbBuffalo reader just sent in this pic, Timon Street - Saturday the 14th...makes the point about planting the right trees.
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6 comments:

BuffaloPundit said...

That's an excellent point.

fix buffalo said...

see you guys got whacked in Clarence...see what you can do to promote Olmsted Conservancy...don't know what groups are doing similar work in other areas of the county...

BuffaloPundit said...

We got whacked pretty hard. Easily 3 feet of snow. The irony about insurers is that they won't pay to trim the hanging branches off the trees, but if one of them falls and hits someone they'll have to pay out the nose. Idiotic if you ask me.

Hope you and yours and your stuff are all ok.

biniszkiewicz said...

I love Sycamore trees. Have been thinking about planting a few by my house. But I live on a street called "Elmview". Seems sacriligioius to plant sycamores on a street named for Elms. On the other hand all we have now are maples; older ones (80 years old +/-) are all dying (especially with the storm).

Who knows what about Elms? From what I read, the best variety (Jefferson) won't be commercially available for a few years.

Side note: a neighbor who is a retired botany professor tells me trees should be interspersed on a street. Don't plant all of any species. Though it gives a nice uniform look, the grove will be suceptible to disease. Let's say you have a neighborhood comprised of four city blocks. You plant four different kinds of trees. Let's say you plant one species on each block. If disease targets one type of tree, you lose 25% of your trees, leaving the affected block bare.

But let's say that instead of planting uniformly on the blocks, you intersperse the four species throughout the neighborhood. Then when disease targets one species maybe you lose only 5% of the trees, not 25%. The disease can't spread nearly as easily from tree to tree. No block is left baren. You lose the uniform look, but gain biological health through diversity. Comments from those who know?

dennyk said...

Check out the Princeton elm, which has proved its disease resistance since 1922 - it has a 95% survival rate from all causes. It's available now & grows very quickly.

http://www.americanelm.com/elm_faqs.html

Chris H said...

There's actually quite a debate among botanists with regard to interspecies planting. Just think of this: ever been to a forest? How about a very large forest, or one that extends for hundreds of miles like in the Canadian Rockies?

Notice that nearly every tree is the same exact species without any variation for miles? Why aren't they dead?

Why are the Redwoods of Northern California still alive? Shouldn't that monoculture have been wiped off the map almost instantaneously by god knows what insidious diseases lurk?

I'm a planner, not a botanist, but I can name streets all over the world that have only one kind of tree on them - just like in nature - and they're not dead.