LOOKING AT THE ENVIRONMENT

 


"NOBODY HAS EVER DIED FROM DANDELION POISONING!"  This should be considered only half a statement. For completion, the legislator should have added:  "S0 WHY PUT REAL POISON ON IT ?"  It scares me to see people put weed-killers on their lawns.  And then, in spite of warning labels 'not to enter until the dust settles'- they let their children play there.

Confusing - isn't it?  The warning label, I mean.  For it seems to say that once the dust has settled it is O.K. to come in contact with it.  How upsetting to see children being victimized by the adults' concern with the aesthetics of their immediate environment, disregarding the long term effect of the chemicals used.  We know that 2-4D causes cancer, and is labeled as an immediate and delayed health hazard (SARA III).  Nevertheless, it is being used on our lawns because the Federal Government sanctions it, just as it is used near water, wild life reserves etc.  Sounds contradictory, doesn't it?  Yes, and silly and shameful too.  For everybody's sake, especially the children's: Let's educate the people!

Another item: Tree Topping - I refuse to do it, but it is being done.  There are sufficient data to show the disadvantages.  If a tree really needs to be topped it is time to remove the tree.  We can control a tree when it is still young.  But people continue doing it against our suggestions.  I wonder if a thoracic surgeon would do a heart transplant only because the patient wants it?  Equally difficult is to try to explain that trees and grass would be happier if the grass weren't under the tree.  It would prefer good compost about 3"-4" thick, out to the drip line, away from the trunk.

Speaking of compost: Where do all those leaves go which the townships collect?  Wouldn't the resulting compost do more good under the trees in our parks than the grass that's there?  (It goes to New Jersey, I found out.  How absurd!)

Speaking of mulch: It shouldn't cover the trunk or the area near the trunk of a tree where it does absolutely nothing. It's useful to facilitate the microorganisms near the dripline in the soil where the roots are. (They don't go around in a circle near the trunk.) Other items that don't belong on trees, especially newly planted ones, are cables and hoses. Worldwide, authorities have been trying to impress this point since early 1991.  So, what's holding you up, contractors?

John A. Keslick Jr.

Tree Biologist

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