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Zelkova Serrata or Japanese Zelkova, at Borough Hall
in Metuchen, New Jersey. (USDA Growing Zone 6)



A Tree Grower's Diary
Photographs and text by Julie Walton Shaver

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Monday, September 4, 2006

Do They Cry?



In the height of the storm, I was driving on Interstate-287 toward a photo shoot in north-central Jersey, watching the trees zoom by and listening to the weather report on the radio: "heavy rain, high winds." This was a given, for I kept my fingers gripped tightly on the wheel, the wind howling at my windows, the wipers unable to stay ahead of the rain. I thought about the trees, knowing for sure someone, somewhere, would be falling. And sure enough, as I drove home through Metuchen later that afternoon, I saw two giant sycamores lying atop holes in roofs. I prayed, hoping the people were not hurt. And then when I pulled into my own driveway, it was immediately obvious to me that something was not right. My red sunset red maple was leaning over too far. Though I could still barely see through the rain and wind, I knew his branches did not belong in that part of the sky. I think sometimes that I know my trees like I know my own children.

We are fortunate though. Upon closer inspection, there was no damage to the house, and ultimately, only one large branch ripped from the tree. Still, I watch the sap running from the huge wound, and I wonder: do they suffer?

I do not know them as well as I think I do.


Lisa, in Burlington, Canada, writes: It is amazing to me that my garden and in particular my trees, have become a part of my family, an extension of myself to some degree. I eagerly await their spring awakening and I sadly bid them adieu for their winter sleep. But they stand guard protecting my home from the elements, providing shelter for wildlife, privacy for my family and refuge for my soul. I watch them sway with winter storms, screaming winds and pelting rain and I marvel at their grace, strength and flexibility. However, I would be deeply upset if one of them succumbed to nature and I am saddened to hear that yours has suffered a blow. Hopefully the tree will rebound from its injury and remain a majestic protector of your yard.

NatureGirl, in Ontario, Canada, writes: For many trees are a daily sight and they rarely give them a second glance.I believe the trees have SPIRITS! It was it's spirit that inspired you to write this post.Does it suffer..not with you around. I think trees SUFFER when they are torn loose from their place on earth..UPROOTED!

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Photograph of the week.
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"The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is today." -- African proverb

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While the Tree Grower's Diary has been in existence since 1996 (as a notebook) and since 1999 (at Coffeedrome), this new, independent site was launched on April 4, 2006. The blog posts here go from April 2006 through 2007. After that, all Tree Growers Diary blog posts appear in my main blog, the City of Nouns. Click here to go straight to the tree category.