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  1. #1

    Default Trees, trees, trees.

    Before Dutch Elm disease, Detroit was known as the city of trees, which blanketed most of the city. Driving around and checking neighborhoods on street view reveals hundreds of trees that haven't been pruned by the city since they were planted and many dead and dying trees that need to be removed. Does the city no longer have a Forestry division?

  2. #2

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    I recall the DE disease. It killed a giant at my childhood home. I've noticed happily some streets in Detroit fully treed with a kind of try with a birch like, mottled trunk. Can't recall but some streets are canopied very well with them. Still nothing was like the Dutch Elms!

    Here's an old Detroit News article on the subject with a few photos....
    Last edited by Zacha341; July-07-19 at 01:26 PM.

  3. #3

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    And once again, we have learned nothing.....

    https://www.detroitnews.com/story/ne...ly/1589783002/

  4. #4

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    Few streets were more stately with a "cathedral of Elm's" than many of the streets in the Grosse Pointes.

    Here's some mature Elm's on the Ford House estate in GPS that shows how wonderful they looked.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  5. #5

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    Trees do wonders for the street level. Besides the obvious benefit of shade, they provide some natural density to a city.

    Is there a tree that is not susceptible to disease and insects? There's a lot of empty planters along Woodward and other major roads downtown that are just empty.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by EGrant View Post
    Is there a tree that is not susceptible to disease and insects?
    After I saw this thread earlier, I did a virtual tour of my old street where I grew up in the 60s and 70s. Many of the Maples are still there. Others are gone, but they could have been taken down by choice, maybe for cracking sidewalks or driveways.

  7. #7

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    All trees are susceptible to disease and insects; some may not have met their nemesis yet. The current thinking is that there need to be a variety of trees planted. If your block is planted with 10 different tree species, and the ash borer takes out ash trees, then you would only lose 10% of your shade.

  8. #8

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    OK but does the city have a plan to cut down so many dead and dying trees in a systematic way?

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by David L View Post
    OK but does the city have a plan to cut down so many dead and dying trees in a systematic way?
    I doubt they are doing it a systematic way, more like the squeaky wheel gets the grease. My block on Edison is very space on large trees, however I know many of us on the block have requested new trees planted along the street and the city has installed quite a few new Oaks this spring/summer. I requested through the city website two "street trees" and about 2 weeks later I can home to find them planted!

  10. #10

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    Well it seems like the city is pretty good at planting trees but not very good at pruning them as they mature.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zacha341 View Post
    I've noticed happily some streets in Detroit fully treed with a kind of try with a birch like, mottled trunk. Can't recall but some streets are canopied very well with them.
    I think those are London planetrees. They are a cross between a sycamore (American planetree) and an oriental planetree. They do very well in cities, and seem to thrive on automotive exhaust for some reason (at least that is what the former head of NYC parks told me...the leaf of those trees is their symbol).

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by David L View Post
    Well it seems like the city is pretty good at planting trees but not very good at pruning them as they mature.
    I can't speak for other neighborhoods but they have pruned every street in Boston Edison east of the Lodge. I would think other dense neighborhoods would get similar treatment.

  13. #13

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    Any of you old timers remember the acrid smell of smoke when raking Elm leaves to the curb, and then burning them there was allowed. I still can remember as a kid how the smoke burned your eyes briefly... but I'm sure the long term on the lungs was probably worse!

    Glad that practice has been banned almost everywhere in metro Detroit's urban zones. But very sad to see the trees gone... we had 3 Elms at our house on Marseilles on the far east side....
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  14. #14

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    I lived in actual forests as a young child, yet when we moved to Grosse Pointe I was amazed by the streets lined with rows of trees. Like Gistok said, they were almost all elms, and their champagne glass shape formed the most wonderful canopy, as if the vaulted ceilings of long cathedrals of trees.

    Their branches arced upwards and intertwined to provide deliciously cool shade-- perfect for playing below, as we did almost every day, and high above so as not to interfere with our footballs, as far as we could throw.

    One by one they fell victim to dutch elm disease. Almost none remain today. Compounding the sadness, not nearly as many new trees have been planted as were taken away.

    Years later my family moved to another part of the Pointes where the trees were lined with silver maples instead of elms. Silver maples provide shade, homes for birds and squirrels, and a few were good to climb. But their irregular shapes do not provide as beautiful a canopy and their shade is uneven. I was much less impressed, but circumstances make me appreciate them more today.

    Silver maples grow fast and big and the sewer pipes below have become ensnarled by their strong roots underground. One by one the city has decided to cut those down too. Visiting I see several more have been marked for removal. As happened before, many fewer new trees are being planted as are being taken away. And too baked in the sun, fewer children play.

    If there is a good place in your yard, and probably there is-- don't wait for the city to do it for you: please select a nice variety and plant a tree this year. And if you have trees already please don't wait for the city to take care of them. A little of your own care goes a long, long way toward beautifying your neighborhood-- and for generations to come.
    Last edited by bust; July-10-19 at 11:22 PM.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by bust View Post
    If there is a good place in your yard, and probably there is-- don't wait for the city to do it for you: please select a nice variety and plant a tree this year. And if you have trees already please don't wait for the city to take care of them. A little of your own care goes a long, long way toward beautifying your neighborhood-- and for generations to come.
    "A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by EGrant View Post
    "A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."
    Great proverb!

    I was inspired to quickly try to determine its attribution: someone named anonymous, from some long time ago in Greece.

    I also like how someone expanded upon it:

    "Our task is not to try to be young, but to be there for those who actually are." --Marc Freedman
    Last edited by bust; July-10-19 at 11:11 PM.

  17. #17

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    Between this and the street sign thread, I had to go look at my old house and found a brand spanking new street view picture dated in late '18. Shows that the three trees I personally planted in the mid 90s are still there and doing quite well.

    A surprise though .... the hood-ish house that I hated living next door to has been cleaned up very well and looks infinitely better.

    I would post a picture or at least a link, but there are some exceeding nosey people here who would have no qualms about prying into public tax and deed records to attach a name to the address during that time period.
    Last edited by Meddle; July-11-19 at 05:24 PM.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by archfan View Post
    All trees are susceptible to disease and insects; some may not have met their nemesis yet. The current thinking is that there need to be a variety of trees planted. If your block is planted with 10 different tree species, and the ash borer takes out ash trees, then you would only lose 10% of your shade.
    Very true. Here are some trees to consider...

    Sweetgum tree
    Aspen tree
    Chinese Pistache tree
    Cedrus deodara
    Liquidambar styraciflua or Sweet Gum
    Ginkgo biloba
    Sky Tower Ginkgo
    Deodar Himalayan Cedar
    Palo Alto Sweetgum
    slender silhouette sweetgum
    green pillar oak
    lombardy poplar tree
    Goldspire Ginkgo
    Armstrong Maple
    Norway Maple
    Trident Maple
    London plane
    Burgundy Sweetgum

  19. #19

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    One of the most popular trees for planting downtown has been the Sunburst Locust, with the very small oval shaped leaves. I have a 30 footer in my back yard... hate it... plugs up the gutters.

  20. #20

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    Walnut, Hickory or Oak....plant these trees.

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Luke09 View Post
    Very true. Here are some trees to consider...

    Sweetgum tree
    Aspen tree
    Chinese Pistache tree
    Cedrus deodara
    Liquidambar styraciflua or Sweet Gum
    Ginkgo biloba
    Sky Tower Ginkgo
    Deodar Himalayan Cedar
    Palo Alto Sweetgum
    slender silhouette sweetgum
    green pillar oak
    lombardy poplar tree
    Goldspire Ginkgo
    Armstrong Maple
    Norway Maple
    Trident Maple
    London plane
    Burgundy Sweetgum
    I will disagree with a few of these.

    Norway Maple - Non-native, highly invasive, tends to prevent anything from growing underneath it, including grass, and when it ages, tends to drop large heavy limbs (can be lethal).

    Aspen - Native, very short-lived, it is fast growing, but won't likely last past 30 years.

    Ginkos are non-native, not invasive, but don't play host to almost anything that is. That is to say, they don't provide habitat or food for birds, insects or other local wildlife, they're almost statuary in the North American context.

    ****

    Locusts are an understandable choice in an urban area, they tolerate compaction, pollution and salt to a great degree and keep on kicking.

    But if one isn't a fan, there are many other choices.

    ****

    Oaks, can be an excellent choice, much more durable an urban-tolerant than people tend to think.

    But definitely a spring planting. Oaks survival rates are diminished quite a bit, as are most nut-bearing species when planted in fall.

    Swamp White Oak is an extremely durable choice, which is native to (southern) Michigan. The name notwithstanding, it will do fine in most backyards in a sunny location.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quercus_bicolor


    Kentucky Coffee Tree is another that I would expect to do quite well in southern Michigan, and is native there.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kentucky_coffeetree

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by EGrant View Post
    "A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."
    A number of years back, the Chateaufort Coop, on the non-famous architect side of Lafayette Park, lost several of its trees. Shortly afterward, they were replaced with two oak trees. I called the then president of that coop to compliment them for planting oaks. His response, "What makes it even more significant is that the members of the landscape committee are all 65+ years old." Chateaufort is just that kind of place.

    Name:  Chateaufort Place Coop.jpg
Views: 369
Size:  144.2 KB

    http://chateaufortplace.com/gallery.aspx

  23. #23

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    I hear the Ailanthus altissima is quite hearty in the urban environment.

  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Canadian Visitor View Post
    Ginkos are non-native, not invasive, but don't play host to almost anything that is. That is to say, they don't provide habitat or food for birds, insects or other local wildlife, they're almost statuary in the North American context.
    Not sure where you got this information - we had two at our old house and had nests in them all the time. Some squirrels and raccoons would even eat the fruit. The corollary to it not playing host to insects is that it's impervious to nearly every type of insect or disease. I think there is one type of fungus it's susceptible to, but it's pretty rare, even in it's native habitat. This is a byproduct of it's longevity - it's considered a living fossil, having not evolved significantly over the course of several million years.

    It's relatively slow-growing, sturdy, and can live a LONG time. The only real downside is the relatively smelly fruit the females drop. Overall a great landscape tree to add to a city's mix.

  25. #25

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    Ah yes, the TREE OF LIFE!!

    Also known as the Ghetto Palm...

    Quote Originally Posted by archfan View Post
    I hear the Ailanthus altissima is quite hearty in the urban environment.
    Last edited by Zacha341; July-13-19 at 07:07 AM.

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