previous
next

Trees in Parks.

The planting of a park can only be touched upon at this place, in a general way In its laying out, the indigenous trees should be conserved if possible. I do not say at any price. Some trees should be cultivated for the purpose, mainly, of giving shelter to the public. The problem of producing beautiful landscape effects is not one suitable for discussion here, except in very general terms, for one cannot go into essential details except with a particular block of land in view. Trees in a public park must have their lower branches removed or children will break them down, and improper characters will use them as places of concealment.

In a private park we see noble specimens of trees, some of them with branches close to the ground. When for public park purposes we prune them, we not only seriously detract from their beauty, but in the case of some trees, particularly conifers, we inflict great injury upon them from a physiological point of view. Trees often require a little judicious pruning, either because of accidents to branches or to prevent branches becoming unduly heavy and tearing themselves away during winds or by their sheer weight. Then we require special precautions in regard to the danger from trees in a public park, particularly in those used by large numbers of people. I have touched upon this subject already.

It is the duty of a park officer to frequently inspect his trees to see if any of them present symptoms which will cause them to be dangerous to the public. Are they getting top-heavy? Are the branches or the trunks becoming unsound? The pruner and the axe-man must be ever on the alert, especially as, with all our care, trees sometimes fall without warning. In such cases examination of the roots or inner portion of the trunk reveals insidious disease, caused either by fungus or by insect pests.

A tree is like a man, in that it progresses to maturity and then commences to decay. Thus we have the active growth of youth, a period of maturity, and a period of senile decay. It would be very desirable if trees could long remain at the period of their best development. But no, they grow out of hand, and have to be cut back, and a common symptom of incipient decay, a dead branch, has to be cut out. I want to emphasise the point that a tree will not remain stationary.

The climbing of trees by boys is a very serious cause of their injury, and even destruction. If a boy intends to climb a tree, one cannot, in practice, prevent him, but he can be hindered by tree guards, and also by loosely twisting barbed wire around the first fork.




  ― 298 ―
While many trees in our genial climate grow more rapidly than they do in Europe, one must not lose sight of the fact that they attain maturity quicker, end then show signs of failure. In applying remedies to unhealthy trees, one must carefully distinguish between those which are suffering from the effects of accident or from a passing, ailment, and those in which the real cause is senile decay.

The question of the establishment of wind-breaks is a matter of importance to all custodians of parks which are not blessed with a sheltered situation. This is one of the most difficult problems those in charge of parks have to face, The problem is to establish the first line of defence, which in its turn, may protect the second, and so on. Each man must work out the problem for himself, and he, of course, considers the contour of the land, and the direction and force of the prevailing winds. Those interested in the matter may be inclined to study the methods by which wind-breaks are being established at the Centennial Park, a park with the poorest of soils.

In planting we want to look ahead and not overcrowd, as this does not allow the development of good specimens, and people object to the thinning out process. It is born in a man not to like to cut down a tree 'he has himself planted.

previous
next