Woodward welcomes trees

By Jeffrey Buck

Woodward Avenue is getting some much needed attention to its lack of trees up and down the median throughout Royal Oak, specifically between 11 Mile Road and Normandy Road. Royal Oak has been known for its consistent appreciation for trees throughout the city and has been awarded the “Tree City USA” award numerous years running, according to the city’s website.

“Its commitment to tree planting and preservation has earned the City of Royal Oak the National Arbor Day Foundation distinction of ‘Tree City USA‘ every year since 1976.”

I can’t express enough how much I hate seeing orange x’s on trees in my neighborhood.  In the grand scheme of things it’s minimal, but it takes a long time for a tree to mature and losing one can be a major blow to a city or private property owner. Although in many cases it’s standard procedure to eliminate all but a few trees in newly developed subdivisions–a main reason I will probably never live in a new development with the dreaded cul-de-sacs, detention ponds and the general lack of architectural detail. No offense to those who live in these places or have an affinity for them.

Royal Oak is very progressive when it comes to replanting trees that are lost to disease or other causes:

“For more than 20 years, Royal Oak has provided a tree-planting program for residents. The objective is to replace trees that are lost over time to disease and other factors. The program allows residents to purchase a variety of trees from the city’s Department of Public Service in the spring and fall at prices lower than area nurseries.”

Royal Oak, among other cities in southeastern Michigan, faced the Emerald Ash Borer several years ago. It was a major blow to the Ash tree population within the city, claiming 140 trees in all by February 23, 2004 with the number reaching an expected total of close to 500 by 2005. Luckily tree planting grants were made available by the state for removal and replanting.

As if trees weren’t already incredibly useful for their obvious benefits of improving air quality and providing much-needed shade on a sunny day, it was recently brought to my attention by an intelligent close friend of mine that large trees in urban areas have been linked to lowering crime rates.

According to a Discovery News article from last week a U.S. Forest Service study, completed between 2005-2007 led by Geoffrey Donovan, reviled some interesting information about the effects that trees had on crime in the neighborhoods in Portland, OR.

“Large trees make a home seem more cared for, hence its residents seem more vigilant, researchers speculate. Smaller trees provide more places for criminals to seek cover.

“From 2005-2007, researchers studied 413 reports of burglary, vandalism, and other crimes at 2,813 single-family homes in Portland, Ore. The research also considered landscaping factors, such as whether the front door was covered by vegetation. Nearby businesses, such as bars, were also considered.”

Environment and Behavior published the study’s results which can be viewed here.

Trees may drip sap on your car (which is very difficult to remove), fall on your house during a storm or shed their leaves on your lawn, but they are necessary to not only live a quality life, but also a safer one.

SPACE

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