May 13, 2007

A Tale of Four Oaks

My neighbor across the street has four majestic oak trees in the front of her property, and I often pass the time on my front porch watching the natural activity in and around these trees.

I also wonder about the relationships between the trees, and to what level these living organisms interact with each other. I have to pause here and note that I am not trying to anthropomorphize these oaks, affixing some sort of new age pseudo-spirituality to a group of plants.

Yet as I watch these trees sway back and forth in the wind, I cannot help but get the sense that there is more here than meets the eye. Certainly on a chemical level trees can communicate, but to what extent is a tree self-aware? Are a group of trees - or those in a forest - aware of their collective existence, and to what extent do trees communicate with each other?

Watching these oaks I know that there is much happening beyond my current knowledge, and I wonder just how much humans really know about the trees around us.


kooz said...

I was going to have a huge tree cut down that sits close to my house. I called a company out and was surprised by his reccommendations.

He asked me if I knew what kind of tree it was. I didn't. He told me it was a white oak and he refused to cut it down. He went on to tell me the history of white oak trees and how strong they are. He added that my fear of the tree falling on the house in a storm was being paranoid because it would take a great storm to bring her down.

He assured me the tree will be standing long after I die and cutting down would also take value from my home.

It would have cost me about 2 grand. I was suprised he turned it down.

microdot said...

I have a brother in law who has had great trees cut on his property because they are in the way of his tractor lawn mower. "I just want to go back and forth! No flowers, stupid trees or lawn dwarfs! I hate having to go around stuff!"
Next question: Do trees gossip? Are they hatching a grand conspiracy to deal with us silly human pests?
I think the Department of Homeland Security needs a forestry branch to investigate this possible threat!

The Screaming Nutcase said...

I had a house with three 70-foot sugar maples out front. The power lines ran through them, though, and one day, the electric company's subcontractor came through and carved L's out of two of them, and just flat-topped the other.

SensorG said...

There are a few of those signature trees around town; the ones you look at and say “wow”.

Dorr and Richards. – Great tree not sure what type.

Plum Leaf by Heatherdowns – Ash tree I suppose it will have to come down sooner and later because of the ash bore.

There is a great sycamore on Holland-Sylvania by the Anderson estate that is pretty nice too.

historymike said...


Yikes! I am a fan of having as many trees as possible on my .36 acre double lot.

Lots of shade in the summer to cool the house, plus endless hours of meditative bliss.

historymike said...


That's sad that your brother just wants grass. While I respect the folks who want a lush, dark green lawn, I like a mix of trees, shrubs, flowers, and grass.

Plus tomatoes and the other possibilities for the home gardener.

historymike said...

Screamin Nutcase:

I was just walking through my neighborhood and saw the butchery of the utility companies on some oaks. Very ugly, and probably took more than a few years off the lives of the trees.

historymike said...


I'll have to keep my eyes out for those the next time I drive in those areas.

A massive tree almost has a personality, doesn't it? It's one of those points of reference that help define a neighborhood.