By Mary Reid Barrow
”Love Trees” is the subject line of an email that includes the photos above of some of the mess caused by Hurricane Ian.
Vince Bowhers, LRNow’s restoration coordinator, sent the message to all of us on the staff after Ian and Monday’s nor’easter had blown through.
Vince wasn’t being sarcastic. He truly does love the white oaks and all 110 trees that grow in his Little Neck yard.
The white oaks, the biggest troublemakers above, are his favorites.
“I have a lot of white oaks that provide shade, beauty, and habitat, and absorb carbon and stormwater,” Vince wrote to the staff. “They also provide an endless supply of leaf mulch, acorns, and firewood.”
In addition, Doug Tallamy in his book, “The Nature of Oaks,” says white oaks and other oak species support more animals than any other tree genus in the United States. That includes everything from tiny insects, to birds, to mammals, Vince added.
On top of all the good the oaks do year-round, not one tree in his yard blew over in the storm. The trees support each other and that prevents them from falling over or breaking in high winds, he said.
Even so, live oaks aren’t perfect. The trees still were able to create the chaotic clutter in his yard that you see in the photos. Twigs, sticks and branches of all sizes were strewn about. And, yes, the branches also damaged some lawn furniture, but Vince just got to work.
“I have already cleaned up the mess,” he wrote, “repaired the table, harvested the aluminum chair for recycling, stacked the firewood, and put the small branches on the brush pile for the wildlife.”
He even was able to salvage a couple of pieces of wood that could go into making a bench!
Red oak, red maple, American holly, sweet gum, black cherry, red cedar, mockernut hickory, dogwood and loblolly pine are among the species of trees in his yard. But by far the biggest majority are the white oaks, he said.
He admits he should have prepared better for the storms by putting his yard furniture away. Still, the after-storm hard work was worth it.
“It’s a small price to pay for all the services the trees provide year after year,” he wrote.
And think about all the good those twigs and branches are going to do.
So collect all those sticks and rake up those leaves and pine straw with a smile this weekend. Let “Love Trees!” be your mantra.
Mary Reid’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org