Just last week I was feeling very bitter about suggestions that a local wading pool renovation be put on hold in order to save some trees. This week, I'm trying to save a tree of my own. I've got my fingers crossed that a massive construction project next door doesn't destroy the tall balsam fir in my backyard. The tree is planted about a foot away from the property line. Last summer, in preparation for their project, the neighbours mercilessly hacked back several branches extending over the fence and into their air space. Savages, I tell you. Today, with the construction of a one-storey addition and basement going full steam ahead, a backhoe shredded all the roots growing into their yard. Every cut, slice and dice has been painful to witness. I'm convinced it's payback.
It's almost as if the park trees I am willing to sacrifice for the sake of a new wading pool planned this whole thing. They want me to witness the fir's suffering and perhaps even its slow, agonizing death by construction. Nice try trees! I almost...ALMOST... felt guilty for a half-second. I would hate to lose this tree. I really, really would. The loss of any healthy, mature tree is a minor tragedy. So, I am doing what I can to help the tree de-stress during what is undoubtedly a stressful time in its life. Mainly this involves giving the tree lots of water. If I'm able to ease some of the drought stress on the tree (we've just been through the driest summer in 50 years here in the T-dot), I'm hopeful it will focus its energies on surviving the root damage.
This tree suffered root damage once before thanks to another construction project by the same neighbours. It produced yellow needles on its lower branches for a few years and dropped needles like crazy for a while. But this summer it was back to its usual robust self. I see that as a good sign. The tree fought back once. I hope it will fight back again. In fact, I'm counting on it. But this construction project is big. Massive. Monsterous. I don't know if the tree stands a chance this time around. I'm rooting for it and will be out there nightly with my hose. Maybe, just maybe, with a little human help, this tree and the resilience it has shown in the past, will stand the test of time. Or maybe tree karma really is out to get me.