My tree recognition ability runs to a half dozen tree types. I didn’t realize there were as many ash trees in the city until they all started dying. This parking lot behind Archives Canada is all ash trees, and no matter how you view it it’s a death bowl.
But it’s not just the ash trees. I see dead and dying trees everywhere. This oak tree is about 20 years old. There used to be a mate on the right side of the doorway, but it (the tree, not the door) died off six or seven years ago, and now it looks like the survivor is going to give up its carbon..
When I started regularly going to Boston, I was struck by the lushness of their forested wastelands on the urban periphery. But even in the city, the trees seem to thrive. The contrast to Ottawa was huge: our woodlands are full of dead trees.
I see dying trees everywhere in this city, but I sure didn’t see such ubiquitous deforestation when in London (On), Stratford, and other SW Ontario cities in May. But soon as I flew into Ottawa, the dead trees stick their sorry twigs into your eye. Same thing while in Europe in June: urban trees looked thriving, even in Europe’s way-more-polluted- than-Ottawa air. What is so awfully special about here?
After several years of thriving, the newly planted trees along Preston, with their large structural soil “pits” for their roots to room, are stressed and dying. Several at the Carling end are totally dead. With such a wet spring, it can’t be for lack of water. Maybe they can anticipate the re-widening of Preston to accomodate turn lanes into those new parking garages and are committing arboreal suicide …
Like the early signs of plague, pestilence, or impending war … I am increasingly uneasy about our greenery. And I’m sceptical our city will replant even half the replacement numbers. And those replacements are likely to be toy trees, destined for a short life.