Trees and Calgary skyline

This is the theme that runs through my blog, my website, my work and life, some wisdom learned through decades of hands-on work. As important as the work is, so is the reading and an arborist's life becomes a constant flow between knowledge gained from books, verified in nature, and knowledge gained from nature, verified in books.

Books give us ideas, nature confirms or denies those ideas. I have done some tree work, read some books and kept a curious mind about what I see everyday. I consider myself very lucky to be able to go out everyday and experience this amazing world. The ecology of Calgary's trees is too complex for anyone to know it all. What is important is to keep growing.

I can say that none of us realize how amazing trees really are. We don't give them credit for knowing how to live their own lives, or for being so good at dealing with their problems, or for creating amazing spaces for so many other beings to enjoy and live in. Like most of nature to the ever strengthening human force, trees have become a commodity rather than our first temples. There are many things done to trees that do not help help them and in fact can be very harmful. One example from the tree service industry is enough, and that is thoughtless over-pruning and thinning. There is still talk out there about 25% to 50% branch reductions being harmless to trees. The same attack on a human would be like being struck by a car; you might survive it but you would never be healthy again.

An unknowing tree worker has never thought of natural living systems. There are no unnecessary branches on trees! Tell me, is a branch a mistake? Perhaps your right thumb is a mistake! Are the 100s of millions of years of trees learning how to be trees worth nothing? Does some unread worker with a chain saw know more about the tree than the tree?

It is time for new blood in the tree care industry; those coming into the work force now know better. Raised on environmental issues and ecological thinking, I hope these young women and men can see a tree for the miracle it is and not just something to make a buck off of while the homeowner is unaware, something to have standard practice A, B or C done to it, because that's what the work order says...

Saddest of all, none of them, not the estimator, or any of the working crew ever really SAW that tree. Business as usual, where's the next job. All living things deserve more respect than that.

(Photo credit: “Calgary from Tom Campbell hill" by davebloggs007, licensed under CC BY 2.0.)

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