|Downed maple limbs|
|Dogwood branch snaps|
The president bought the trees for his Mount Vernon estate. And he must have thought that he chose well because the tree is known for its thick shade canopy, its early leafing (mid-April) and for its stunning yellow fall colors.
Bartram imported the seed from London and therein visited disaster on American forests and native trees, especially the Sugar Maple and other trees and shrubs in the understory. The Norway Maple, or Crimson King, has no friends on the Internet. When I send Ms. Google out looking for word on this tree, the only thing she can bring back to me is contempt, and shame, and vitriol.
|More maple down|
Turns out my maple that dropped some pretty significant wood during the storm is progeny of George Washington's mistake. When I called Bonifant Trees to give me an estimate on the clean up from all the storm damage, owner Tom Bonifant told me what kind of maple it was and of its nasty reputation.
Tom, I said, is this tree worth saving?
And Tom, tree-lover Tom, said, "To me, any tree is worth saving." And my heart melted.
Tom and I made plans to save old Norway. All the broken branches were trimmed back. All dying wood was removed. And a cable was installed high up, Philip Pettit-style, between the two dominant branches, so that in a wind storm, the tree would sway as one and not in competition with itself.
Now, I have long loved this tree and I will continue to honor it. Every tree is worthy.
To be sure, I can't be blamed for planting it. It was here when we bought the place. And every year, I've pulled out the whips that have tried to grow from its seed.
But this gorgeous old gal, her gnarled trunk ascends just alongside my deck and shades the table and chairs there. It continues on up to my bedroom window, where it splits into its two branches. It's there that a mother raccoon sometimes sits with her babies in the spring and we all get a wonderful thrill peeking at them (even as we realize that they'll grow up to invade our trash cans and steal the peaches from my peach tree).
But even more significantly, the reason that I love this tree is because I know that she loves me, and my family, and the family next door. Her branches that came down in the storm, I realize, could have so easily fallen and crushed roof tops, even smashed windows. Instead,her branches fell safely, taking out just a portion of our gutter. Easily repaired. No harm, no foul.
Bonifant came this week. He cleaned Ms. Norway up. And miraculously, too, his workers told me that the dogwood over my chair would be just fine, even though her dominant branch had also been severed in the storm. I had planned to cut her down. But she, too, will live to see another spring. And her buds on the remaining branch are plump and full of life.
George Washington, I cannot tell a lie, I saved and now honor a bad, bad invasive tree. But, your mistake is my gain. The Putterer