The fate of five aging Bradford pear trees on Main Street was in question following an Aug. 8 public hearing, where some town residents made pleas to save the trees to New Canaan Tree Warden Bruce Pauley.
He's made his decision, however, and they're coming down.
"I'm going to go ahead with the removal. The arguments that I heard, everything makes sense, and I appreciate the effort people went through. All they show is that people could make the trees safer. But safer is not truly safe. Those tress have been there way longer than anyone could expect them to survive," Pauley said Tuesday.
Dubbed "The Bradford 5," the planned removal of the trees hit a sensitive spot for some residents, while others believed it was time for the buzz saw.
One resident against the removal, Andrea Sandor, came equipped with a 12-page PowerPoint printout, and paid $300 for a second opinion from a master arborist, who said four of the five trees could be spared if pruned and cabled. One section from her PowerPoint quoted a letter from another resident which called the removal of trees around town "environmental vandalism."
Other members of the public voiced opposition to the removal as well, claiming that if the trees could be made more stable, they provide enough public utility to remain on the sidewalk.
According to Pauley, the Bradford 5 will be replaced with five new trees.
Three will be sastigiate English oaks, and the other two will be male Chinese Ginkgos.
Only the female Ginkgo tree bears the awful-smelling fruit.
Pauley said the Gingko is an ideal tree for the environment on Main Street, and added that the Gikgo leaf is an ancient leaf form, older than that of any other tree on earth.
The proposition to have the trees removed follows instances in the past year where branches have fallen off, including one instance where a car was dented.
Pauley explained that the trees, planted 40 or 50 years ago, are well beyond their normal lifespan of 25 to 30 years. He also said they should never be planted in sidewalks because they are a fast growing tree that just keeps getting heavier and heavier.
The trees also have the problem of having deep-V crotches, where the trunks split in two quite close to the ground. This causes the trees to have branches that grow more horizontally. As the branches get heavier, their weight and lack of support causes them to break.
"It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when," those branches would break, Pauley said.
Paraphrasing an arborist mentor of his, Pauley said, "Trees have dignity, too. When they stop looking like the tree they were intended to be, what are you saving them for?"
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