Tuesday, November 1, 2016


Several weeks ago I came home to my Normal Park Neighborhood house to find that several trees on our pretty tree lined street were marked with a big scarlet letter. The marking on the trees signify that the trees are to be cut down. Two of the these red marked trees happened to be in our front yard. Admittedly, one of these trees did look a bit ill, but the other one, a big giant maple tree, a tree that had been a favorite of my son and daughter since they were toddlers, looked perfectly healthy.Yet, that healthy looking tree was marked with the dreaded scarlet letter also.

Sure enough, a week or two later the trees were cut down. Naturally, after the two trees were cut down I went over to the two stumps to inspect them. As you look at our house, the stump on the left does look a little rotten. However, the stump on the right looks perfectly healthy to me, at least as healthy as a tree stump can possibly look. Now, I'm no tree expert, but I did, however, interview a tree expert about her opinion on the two stumps and whether she thought both trees needed to be cut down.

I should mention that our tree expert, Carolyn Leadley, is my sister in law who is an urban farmer in the city of Detroit. Carolyn has an undergrad degree in plant ecology from the University of Michigan, and a grad certificate in urban farming from Michigan State University.

I asked Carolyn to look at our two tree stumps in the front yard and give her opinion as whether the trees needed to be cut down. Carolyn said the one stump did look diseased, rotten and showed signs of decay, possibly from ants. She thought it was time for that tree to come down. However, she thought that the other tree looked perfectly healthy, and trimming the branches would have been more appropriate, and less costly.

I recently reached out to the Ypsilanti Dept of Public Works, specifically Stan Kirton who is the Director of Public Works. In an email I asked Stan how the decision process works and who makes the decisions regarding which residential trees should be cut down. I also asked what credentials they had. As of yet, he has not responded to me.

It appears that many residents of Ypsilanti are also curious as to how decisions are made regarding our residential trees. A response from the Ypsilanti Dept of Public Works would be greatly appreciated.

Jeff Brown
Purple Walrus Press.
The two tree stumps in our front yard. Photo Purple Walrus Press.

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