Saturday, June 22, 2013

Sustainable Saturday - Under The Shade of the Butchered Tree

This week, British blogger Caro Ness wrote a wonderful poem about a Chestnut tree.  (most of our chestnuts in the States have been destroyed by a blight - but that's a story for another day).

Caro, you inspired me to write about neighborhood trees in my Westover, and nearby Binghamton, in upstate New York. 

Neighborhood trees are a blessing to the urban neighborhood, providing shade, food for wildlife, and beauty. They reduce air pollution, provide wind breaks, save energy and, in some cases provide food for humans.  As such, they are a good topic for a Sustainable Saturday. 
In my part of upstate New York, the catalpa trees are in bloom, and this one in my neighborhood is putting on quite a show. 
One branch was hanging low, and I was able to get a nice closeup of the flowers on this native tree.

Fortunately for this tree, it didn't live in nearby Binghamton.  But the one below does live in Binghamton.

 If you are a Binghamton homeowner, seeing this on your tree brings dread, because...
...soon enough, your tree will look like this.

Can you imagine a scenic street such as Riverside Drive lined with butchered trees like this?  And now, the butchering is spreading to nearby neighborhoods, despite public outcry.

NYSEG, the local electric utility that everyone loves to hate, has the right to trim trees to avoid problems with power lines.  I won't ask the obvious "why were these type of trees planted under power lines to begin with?"  So, they try to prune and the trees are fatally tangled with the powerlines.  And, these are NYSEG employees not tree pruning experts.  Can't NYSEG afford to hire someone knowledgeable to oversee this operation?  Don't they make enough off we the people who pay some of the highest electric rates in the country?

Can you just imagine what would happen if we get a snow before leaves are off the tree?  The weakened infrastructure of that tree is not going to take the weight too well.

Binghamton homeowners aren't taking the weight of their butchered trees too well, either.

If you have a nice, shady tree - enjoy it, enjoy its benefits and be grateful you don't live in Binghamton, New York.


  1. Why are they uber pruning the trees? To keep them away from the electricity lines? :(

    1. It's to keep the branches away from the power lines. However, they prune less often than they should - the trees grow tall and tangle into the lines by the time NYSEG gets to them. Then, they use people who apparently have no training in how to prune trees in urban areas and they simply hack (or chainsaw, more likely) away. It's ruined the look of one of the most scenic streets in Binghamton (Riverside Drive), and the uber-pruning is set to come to other neighborhoods. It's even become an issue in the Binghamton mayoral campaign.

  2. I have to ask, why don't the Bingamton homeowners trim their trees before they are attacked by the butchers? Then they'd have control over how the trimming was done. In my town, the city sends us a nasty gram and we are responsible for getting our own trees trimmed.

  3. Fortunate to have a garden full of trees, and a nature reserve at the end of my street (with no powerlines getting in the way)! :)

  4. Shocking. Those butchered trees are an eyesight.
    Your native trees look so beautiful. I don't remember seeing the catalpa tree before.


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