The lives of trees

Three years ago, I visited Chicago for the first time. It was mid-April, and the highs were in the 20s at the start of the trip. My last full day there, though, the sun came out and warmed things up enough for me to linger outside. I came across several tree signs and snapped photographs to share here.

But you know how “way leads on to way.” I wrote other posts, and the tree sign photos sat waiting.


A fun tree campaign (though the url on the sign no longer works)

A few days ago, I came across an old article in the Atlantic about the importance of trees in urban environments, and it sparked something in my brain. I remembered the Chicago tree signs.

treesignsChicago_20132_FT treesignsChicago_20133_FT treesignsChicago_20134_FT treesignsChicago_20135_FT

Though the Morton Arboretum’s campaign URL is defunct, its education attempts on behalf of trees are thriving. Each of these signs still has a corresponding page on the Arboretum’s site. You can find them all from the Benefits of Trees page.

By the way, in case you didn’t click on the Atlantic article, it has a really cool map of the trees removing pollution across the United States. That alone makes it worth hopping over to read the article, but the connections the article describes between tree density and human health should make us all pay attention and, perhaps, head out to the local nursery this weekend to pick up some trees for the yard.

Confessions of a tree killer
Before you buy trees for your yard, though, let me implore you to do a little research. Find out the best trees suited for the space and conditions you have in your yard. Why? So you or the next people who buy your house don’t have to cut down poorly planned trees.

That’s exactly what was happening in my front yard when I first sat down to begin this post. Two men worked with a chainsaw, rope and a chipper, cutting down two cherry trees that never should have been planted where they were. Because the trees were too close to the house, the previous owners had to prune them viciously to keep them away from the roof each year, and the mangled results left the trees looking ugly. In addition to the mess that blew in year-round from a steady stream of blossoms and leaves, the trees had become a freeway for critters to get to the roof and explore little hidey holes into the attic.

I hate having to have trees cut down. And writing about these tree signs while that was happening in my own front yard left me feeling terrible. Yes, my husband and I will go find appropriate trees to plant in their place, but that doesn’t change the fact that the two trees are dead now.

So I hope you’ll go into your yard and plant trees. Just do the homework to make sure they’re the right trees. Otherwise, the heartache and expense later on could outweigh the benefits of planting them.

No room for trees?
If you don’t have space for trees, you might consider donating to an organization that supports tree-planting programs. Here’s one based right here in California. It has a high rating on, and if that’s not the one for you, scroll down the Charity Navigator listing to find several similar organizations with their own ratings.

As for our front yard, I’m envisioning pink dogwoods, dwarf maples or maybe a couple of weeping cherry trees. (No irony there, eh? I think we may be in the wrong zone for them.)

Did you plant any new trees in the fall—really the best time to plant them? Or have you been planning for any new trees in your garden this spring? If so, I’d love to hear about your trees.

Just a reminder: I am praying through Lent and would be honored to include your prayer requests in my daily prayers. Visit this post to learn more and submit a request.

1 thought on “The lives of trees

  1. Pingback: Healing in the Hiding Place | The Flourishing Tree

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