Death warrant for a tree

The other day, on a street in Richmond, I saw a sign that said "This tree is scheduled to be removed."

I appreciate the impulse to let passersby know that a tree is doomed. And truthfully, this tree–like its neighbors down the block, also facing the chainsaw–is probably not one that anyone’s too attached to. It’s one of those poor specimens planted directly under a powerline, so it’s been trimmed into a bizarre and stunted U shape to keep it away from the wires.

Urban trees are kind of fascinating to me. They’re visible examples of the collision between nature and humanity. Sometimes they seem abused (like when they’re "topped," or unfairly removed, or planted in spots where they’ll never have a chance to properly grow). Sometimes they fight back, buckling sidewalks or crowding houses.

In any case, even an ugly tree does a service to the air we breathe–all the more important in a city. What would be great is if the sign read "This tree is scheduled to be removed, and replaced with five new ones planted at such-and-such a location."

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