Dominion of mankind covers trees, too

Dominion of mankind covers trees, too

By: By JIMMY WILLIAMS Special to The Messenger

Dominion (Latin dominus) n. rule or power to rule; sovereign authority.
So says Webster. I take it then that the Lord intended the acme of His creation, man, to have sovereign authority over “the fowls of the air” and other of His inventions. Including trees.
So, then, we have permission — indeed a command — from the Highest Authority Himself to say to this tree or that: Stay or go.
One of the toughest assignments I face as a counselor to gardeners is that of convincing some of them that the lousy sweetgum growing three inches from the house foundation should be under eviction orders. It is no affront to God to have the thing beheaded at the ground line.
Some of my “clients” are downright sniffy when it comes to trees. Take Peggy Veazey, for just about the best example I know of a tree hugger.
Peggy has planted over the years a number of trees, most of them fine specimens in themselves, but some too thickly planted and almost all of them — these years later — branched too heavily and too close to the ground.
Her loyal and loving husband, Paul, is quite capable and adept at limbing up trees. He knows the proper way to lop off offending branches that threaten to blind him every time he mows their extensive grounds. Yes, Paul knows to cut them at their junction with the trunk and not leave stubs that will invite disease.
Peggy, however, believes not only that whole trees are sacrosanct but that even the most miniscule parts of them are as well. She is not only a tree hugger, she is a twig hugger.
I was at the Veazey home a few weeks ago and Peggy was indisposed, Paul said, in the bed with a heavy dose of tranquilizers.
Seems that Paul had limbed up a few trees that were blocking the front of their beautiful new house and Peggy had a nervous breakdown when she saw the branches lying askew with open wounds gushing blood (sap).
Paul was trying to console his dear wife as best he could, and asked me, right in front of Peggy, if he had done the wrong thing.
“Yes,” I replied. “You didn’t cut off enough.”
This sent Peggy into more wails of despair and into a deeper state of melancholy, from which she is only slowly recovering.
Just about as bad a case is Diane Mahan. She will, on rare occasion, agree to removal of a dead branch here and there on their heavily wooded property, but that’s about it.
I have tried for years to convince Diane and husband Joe that removal — that is, death at the hands of a chain saw — of a number of trees between their house and a nearby pond would open up a whole new world of visual adventure from the patio off their bedroom where they enjoy morning coffee.
The pond is some several hundred yards away and in full view — or would be without those durn trees — from the patio. Horses water there and graze nearby, wildlife visits the waterway and deer and turkeys are often seen — or would be if it weren’t for those durn trees.
It’s not that Peggy or Diane are short of trees. Both are blessed with many of them, so that even if the “go” order were executed on a whole bunch there would still be plenty left.
Don’t misunderstand. A tree in a valued place that is doing its duty in shading the house or providing colorful seasonal bloom is an asset indeed. Particularly if it is the only one there, or even one of a few.
But when it is one of many — too many — and causing problems of one kind or another, then the sovereignty of man should be exercised, and with no regrets.
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From Poor Willie’s Almanack — Cut out two-thirds of the trees on your wooded residential property. You’ll be glad you did.
Editor’s note: Jimmy Williams is production superintendent at The Paris Post-Intelligencer, where he also writes this column.
Published in The Messenger 4.29.08

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