"When the Elms died, they did it again with the Ash trees. Once again, big mistake. Am I blaming city government for this? You bet your Ash Boar I am."
We have all heard that old saying - the government can not even screw in a light bulb the right way. Hey! Which reminds me! Before I start on this morning's rant, what about light bulbs? That was another government screw up. Not too many years ago, incandescent bulbs were looked upon as evil personified. "Get rid of them, and use CFL bulbs! We need to save the planet!" Turns out those CFL bulbs ended up being so toxic, to dispose of them properly almost took an act of the EPA. Plus they were ugly. Today, CFL bulbs are about as scarce as hen's teeth. Oh, and you can once again buy incandescent bulbs.
Back to my rant. Because I am getting old, I remember things which happened decades ago. In the early 1970's, there was a scourge which was hitting Elm trees in the Twin Cities. It was a disease few had heard of - Dutch Elm. But it was spreading like wildfire, and both Minneapolis and St. Paul were affected. And both had a tough financial choice to make - treat the trees, or cut them down. Both cities ended up treating some, and cutting down most of the rest. The beautiful canopy of Elm trees which shaded many city streets then became history.
Now what? The arborists in both cities suggested different types of Ash trees. Very disease resistant. So tens of thousands of Ash trees were planted. The most common one was the Marshall Seedless Ash. After about 20 years or so, the canopy started to return to many of the Twin City streets. Only this time it was with Ash trees and not Elm trees.
In the mid 1980's we bought our lot north of the cities. Our lot had mostly pines on it which was a good thing. The dreaded Oak Wilt was taking down thousands of Red Oaks in the county in which we were going to live. When I decided to plant some trees in my front yard, I consulted with the city. "Marshall Seedless Ash. You can't go wrong. Beautiful and very disease resistant." So I planted a grove of about 10 of them.
Flash forward to today. In the paper this morning, there was a story about all the city owned Ash trees in the Twin Cities needing to come down. Why? The Ash Boar. The beautiful city canopies which took so long to replenish are now going bye-bye. I have already had the city knock on my door about my Ash trees. My city suggested I pick a few to keep, have them treated for a few hundred dollars, and then cut the rest down.
The bottom line is this. A generation or two ago, a decision was made by city governments to plant mostly a homogeneous selection of trees to line the streets. Big mistake. When the Elms died, city government did it again with the Ash trees. Once again, big mistake. Am I blaming city government for this? You bet your Ash Boar I am.