We had our arborist come out to inspect our for health and safety, as we do just about every year, since 2010. They examine the tree and this year we got another good grade. Later, they will come out and give it some vitamins to keep it strong. In Philadelphia it is difficult to find an arborist, so we would like to Thank www.Giroudtree.com for coming out every year since 2010 to check on our tree.
We meant to create a post a year ago on the tree trimming we did in 2010. They did a pretty good job as to the tree has survived a few storms (knock on wood). They turned our giant bush into a giant tree. And they did it right.
We got a kick out of the comments on Facebook and other sites regarding our campaign to maintain open space and a 80 year old tree in South Philadelphia. Some will make you laugh and others will make you go what? Please help save open space in development projects and signand shareour petition today.
Long before this issue with the tree and the development came along we had found the picture of the tree in a 1962 photo posted by the www.PhillyHistory.org. Here you can see the tree and even in 1962 it was pretty big and we estimate at least 20 years old. During our walks around the neighborhood, many older residents have said they remember the tree from when they were kids and they are in their 80’s. Permission was granted by www.PhillyHistory.org to share these images with you. The picture below can be found at http://www.phillyhistory.org/PhotoArchive/Detail.aspx?assetId=71801
Neighbors commented during our petition walk about that they remember swinging on the old tree in the 60’s and landing on old mattresses in the empty lot. We are hoping to get some stories for another post.
Here are some additional pictures from around the neighborhood in 1962.
Neighbors and Friends Out for a Night Out Under the Tree and a Movie
Trees can be amazing neighborhood builders. Our efforts to discuss development, open space, zoning, trees and development have brought out the neighbors for a night out. On Saturday, July 23, 2016 about 30 plus neighbors and friends sat with the tree in the background and had Ice Treats and watched the movie The Lorax.
Everyone loved the movie night and we got more signatures from friends and neighbors for the petition.
Some key points is that the weekends are easier to get and cost less than weekdays and that the signature for the permit has to live on the block. Owning the corner property does not count. Everyone on the block was great and very supportive of the event and pretty much all signed the petition. We only missed people if they were not home. We also learned that even the Friends of the Parks have to get permits for their events. Go figure that one out!
The Lorax is a children’s book written by Dr. Seuss. It chronicles the plight of the environment and the Lorax, who speaks for the trees against the Once-ler. As in most Dr. Seuss works, most of the creatures mentioned are original to the book.
The book is commonly recognized as a fable concerning the danger corporate greed poses to nature, using the literary element of personification to give life to industry as the Once-ler and the environment as The Lorax.
This was perfect movie for adults and kids showing how greed and over development can easily wipe all the trees off the neighborhood.
Here is a clip link:
If you are interested in playing movies for public consumption there are basically two places to go to and you have to purchase the movie license for the night.
The Ailanthus is a rough tree to kill and is probably why it is considered a weed. They spread fast. However, back in the day they were considered ornamental trees. But things change. In New York, this type of tree had for decades been the centerpiece of the sculpture garden at the Noguchi Museum in Queens. From the article “A Tree That Survived a Sculptor’s Chisel Is Chopped Down” by GLENN COLLINS,MARCH 27, 2008 in the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/27/nyregion/27tree.html)
“It was a survivor, always there,” Ms. Rychlak said of the junkyard dog of a tree. The ailanthus, an invasive species brought to the United States from China, is currently designated a “noxious weed” by the United States Department of Agriculture. Given its offensive odor, it has won such epithets as “stink tree” and “ghetto palm,” thriving despite neglect, water deprivation and even physical abuse.
But the Chinese call it Tree of Heaven, and have long found its leaves, bark and wood useful in traditional medicine. And this ailanthus was spared by Noguchi when, in 1975…
“Ailanthus is about survival, and grows where no other tree dares grow, even in polluted soil,” said Mitch Cope, an artist with the collective. He added that the tree “is easy to hate, and just as easy to fall in love with.”
I would have to agree with Mitch Cope’s quote, it is easy to hate but it is very easy to fall in love with.
As many commentators have said, the tree is a tough one to kill and you have to dig deep into the ground to get the roots. It is not a little expense to do so especially in such a confined space. So we say, let it live until it has lived out its life and then we will do it soundly; much like they did at the Noguchi Museum in Queens. However, we will have to take it to below ground, because the developers would just chop it again. Plus add to that, the cost of repairing the brick wall and patio work that would have to be done. This endeavor should not be done just for the sake of doing so. We hope the developer realizes the costs to do this and the choice they make on their own.
The tree’s annual rings revealed its age to be 75. But even as a stump, the Noguchi tree may have the final say. “The ailanthus is well known for regenerating from its roots,” Ms. Dixon said. “If it revives, the original could be here again, as a symbol for the museum.”
In Philadelphia, tree-of -heaven sparked the interest of amateur and professional horticulturists alike as a desirable and unique shade and ornamental tree for the gardens of larger home and farm landscapes
I have to admit it is a great shade tree and I can understand why people used it in cities where gardens were small and limited.
So why do I call it the gardening clock. If you get lazy at keeping your garden or yard cleaned and trimmed, this definitely reminds you of your gardening duties. You will start seeing little sprouts. I think this might be why people in Europe and America were so fascinated with the tree. They would see it in gardens in China that were well maintained. What they did not realize is that, it had to be done. So the tree became its own promoter because the gardens were so beautiful.
This tree does keep its owner on their toes, but it rewards with shade, filter light and a great wind block.
Our 80-plus year old tree is in danger from development plans on an adjacent lot that is just too small for building or living, 14ft wide x 20ft deep. The design calls for a 3 story trinity house which would force cutting almost half the branches. If the shock doesn’t kill the tree, it would still be unbalanced, posing the danger of falling toward our house or neighbor’s properties,
The plan is coming before the Philadelphia Zoning Board soon. Hopefully, they will see that the lot is too small for the suggested plan. However, if the Philadelphia Zoning Board releases the lot’s owner from the open space requirements, our tree will be destroyed.
Here is a summary of our discussion with the lot’s owner/developer so far:
In our very first encounter (Early 2015) before he purchased the lot, we told him the lot would not be worth it. There was no way the local area was going to permit a curb cut for a garage, because they just turned down similar requests to larger houses down the street.
The next encounter (Saturday 5/16/2015): The gentleman approached saying that he bought the lot property next to our house and said he was going to build upon it. I told him we would fight any zoning changes for the property use. Here is one of his comments as it related to the Old Tree:
You are going to have to get the tree off my property side when I build my work shed.
That’s when we asked our tree company to trim up the tree as much as possible to get room for the developer. Our Arborist said that if they take away that big branch, we will have to take away the entire tree for safety.
We heard nothing for a year, until Friday night (6/3/2016), when the developer posted a notice for a zoning meeting on Tuesday 6/7/2016. This left us one weeknight to circulate a petition among the neighbors. In less than 2 hours we got 47 signatures Against the Zoning Relief!
At the Pennsport Civic Association Zoning meeting (Tuesday, 6/7/2016), the Developer said:
If the tree is on my side, I can trim that, correct?
After the 6/7 meeting, we figured the next meeting would be on August 3, 2016 with the Philadelphia Zoning Board in downtown Philly. However, we got another late Friday night (6/17/2016) notice for a meeting on Tuesday 6/21/2016. A bunch of neighbors were complaining about the late notice, and how only a few people could make the meeting.
At the next Pennsport Civic Association Zoning meeting on Tuesday 6/21/2016, I mentioned that we had the arborist clean up the tree as far above his lot as possible. The Developer replied:
Did you get a quote for cutting down the tree?
We don’t want our tree to be cut down! It is one of the oldest, tallest trees remaining in our neighborhood of South Philly. The Big Tree helps