All posts by Jim Abbot

Fear of Trees

125-year-old southern red oak being removed LEGALLY, after inspection by a City of Atlanta arborist and issuance of a permit consistent with the Tree Protection Ordinance

Everything is connected — remember that, and I’ll come back to it in a moment.

I grew up in a small town in rural Georgia. Really small: not even 2,500 people (i.e., about half of Inman Park’s population). In those days and in that part of the world, children spent a lot of time outdoors. Lots and lots of time outdoors.

From an early age, therefore, older people were continually instructing us in the proper evaluation of risk. Mommy and Daddy were not going to be around to protect us from each and every danger: we children had to learn for ourselves how to live a full, active life with an acceptable level of risk. Continue reading Fear of Trees

Gratitude

Inman Park has been working closely with Trees Atlanta for at least two decades. Their entire organization collaborates with us to plant and maintain new trees, as well as to educate and raise awareness among our residents. In any given year, Trees Atlanta might commit tens of thousands of dollars to our neighborhood.

Relying upon the generosity of Inman Park, which is expressed partially through IPNA’s budgeting of funds and partially through eager responses to fundraising by Tree Watch, we are able to make an annual donation to Trees Atlanta.

Shown here on Monday, June 10, at the Trees Atlanta Kendeda Center are (L-R) Tree Watch’s Steve Hays, Chief Program Officer Greg Levine, Marge Hays of Tree Watch, and Chief Operating Officer Connie Veates.

Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers

There are earlier posts of mine about gas-powered leaf blowers: read them here and  here. Washington, D.C., recently enacted a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers, to take full effect by 2022. The journalist James Fallows and his wife Deb were among a small group of neighborhood activists who started working toward this in 2015. You can read here a short article by Fallows at The Atlantic with links to additional information.

Bioswales on Highland Avenue!

On Saturday, March 23, 2019, Trees Atlanta and Chattahoochee Riverkeeper installed the first of two bioswales on Highland Avenue. They had the help of several volunteers from Inman Park, including Jamie Allen, Chuck Young, and Jim Abbot.

Bioswales are landscape elements intended to capture, clean, and infiltrate stormwater on site. Trees Atlanta, in the person of Kelly Ridenhour, and Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, represented by Eric Fyfe, received a grant to pilot a simple and inexpensive approach to retrofitting existing street features, such as sidewalk rights-of-way and bump-outs, into bioswales.

Each new vegetated bioswale — at Highland’s intersection with Washita — will be home to one big-flowered silverbell tree (Halesia diptera var. magniflora), together with ground cover including Virginia sweetspire, eastern bluestar, river oats, coneflowers, and more.

Public Service Announcements

Getting Some Tree Work Done?

Get multiple bids with detailed estimates of the costs and time required.

Ask whether the work will be planned and supervised by an arborist who is certified by the International Society of Arboriculture.

What equipment will be used? If you are told that a crane or boom lift is necessary, ask why the work can’t be done by tree workers climbing with ropes.

How will they clean up your property at the completion of the removal or pruning?

Exercise some due diligence. If you spot a tree worker in a boom lift (see photo above) wielding an unsecured chainsaw without any protective gear at all (hardhat, safety glasses, earplugs, gloves), you’ve hired the wrong company. If workers seem to you to be insufficiently careful around the chipper, you’ve hired the wrong company. Ask them to stop work immediately and insist on speaking with a manager.

Note that some tree services are investing in electric equipment and committing to practices that are better for the environment. If you can afford to pay a little extra for that service, you will be encouraging other companies to do the same.

Here’s an earlier post on this website about selecting a tree service company.

Hiring a Lawn Service? 

Does the company offer a clean and quiet service using battery-powered and manual equipment? Does it have expertise in organic lawn and plant care?

What is the minimum number of times each month that you absolutely need this service? Do you need it year-round, e.g., even in winter?

Can the work be scheduled at a time when it is least likely that the noise will disturb your neighbors, e.g., not on a weekend and not early in the morning or late in the afternoon?

Do the workers seem professional and well-trained? Do they wear protective gear? Are they paid a living wage?

Hiring Someone to Spray for Mosquitoes?

Before you sign up, do your homework. Are you breeding mosquitoes by leaving standing water on your property? Can you adequately protect yourself by applying repellent or screening a porch? What chemical will the company use, and what can you find out about that chemical by doing your own research? Are you vulnerable enough to the inconvenience of a mosquito bite or the remote chance of contracting a mosquito-borne disease that it outweighs the environmental damage caused by the spraying, e.g., the killing of bees?

Here’s a Consumer Reports article on whether to spray your yard for mosquitoes and ticks. And once again, as with anyone visiting your property to do work, insist on professionalism and adequate safety measures: if the young person misting your yard is wearing no protective equipment at all, for example, ask why.

Updated Volunteer Opportunities, March-April 2019

 

Tuesday, March 12, 6:30 p.m.
Tree Ordinance Talk & Information Session at Trees Atlanta’s Kendeda Center in Reynoldstown. The City of Atlanta has begun a critically important process to rewrite our tree protection ordinance. Honestly, I can’t think of anything that will have a bigger longterm impact on our urban forest than this revised ordinance. At this information session, Trees Atlanta will have pizza, explanations, opportunities for you to comment and ask questions, and the like. Here’s more info on the event.

Saturday, March 16, 9:00 a.m.
We’ll be back in the southern half of Springvale Park to continue removing woody invasives. Meet as usual on the corner of Edgewood Avenue and Waverly Way.

Saturday, March 23, 9:00 a.m. 
We’ll be installing nifty “bioswales” in two bump-outs on Highland Avenue, at its intersection with Washita. Here’s more info.

Saturday, April 13, 9:00 a.m. 
We’ll be mulching trees within the Festival zone.  Meeting spot TBD, but probably along Euclid Avenue at Poplar Circle, near the intersection with Hurt Street.