Sunday, October 30, 2011

Oedipus Wrecks Tree or the Sweeny Todd of Anchorage Tree Trimmers

Men of London went into Sweeny Todd's barber shop for a trim, and left the shop through a trap door with their throats slit and into Mrs. Lovett's famous pies.
Images from Blue-In-AK's Democratic Underground post

Blue_In_AK suggests at Democratic Underground a few days ago that Carlos Tree Trimmers of Anchorage, on contract with an Anchorage utility to trim trees around power lines, has a Sweeny in their employ.  (Well, she didn't mention Sweeny.)

"We had an absolutely beautiful Mayday tree in our front yard [BEFORE] that was probably at least 40 or 50 years old. It was already huge when I moved in here 22 years ago. Here's a picture of it last spring in full bloom. The blossoms were so fragrant, you could smell the tree all along our streert [sic].

"This morning the tree trimmers who the electric utility hires to cut out branches around the lines came by and asked us if they could trim the tree up. We said sure, they've done it many times before when the branches go up in the wires. We then went downtown to buy me some shoes, and when we got home, the tree looked like this [AFTER].
(The trouble buying shoes gets one into.)

I learned about this because comment 148 has a link to my post on May Day trees being an invasive species in Anchorage.  Lots of people have May Day trees here, so that's not my issue in this story.  

This sort of trim is completely inexcusable.  If the utility contracts out with tree trimmers, there should be a huge penalty clause for situations like this.  What kind of a person does this?  Someone, like Sweeny Todd, who has been badly warped by past ill treatment and now takes it out on poor trees and their unsuspecting admirers?

Blue_in_AK writes (comment 171) in response to comments about a company rep's visit:
He just kept saying I'm sorry, I'm sorry,
as if that was going to make any difference. And as it turns out, he is the owner's son who we later learned from a different supervisor had taken out someone else's ornamental earlier this week. The second supervisor who came to talk to us said he had worked on that tree many times, loved it himself and was very sorry that this had happened. The guy in charge of "danger trees" at the electric company said there are some things he wants to talk to us about that he didn't want to discuss while he was at work, which leads me to believe that they may be having many complaints about Carlos Tree Service. He and Carlos himself are coming out here tomorrow to discuss what can be done.
Oedipus was beyond sorry when he learned he'd killed his father.  He blinds himself in despair.  And Freud's most famous diagnosis was named after Oedipus. What sort of father-son stories underlie this defoliation?  Maybe he really doesn't want to work in the family business and sometimes he takes out his frustration on the trees.  Of course this is pure speculation with no factual basis whatsoever, but no one who loves trees would have done this.

I have to say that Carlos' company trimmed trees in our yard once - also on contract to the utility - clearing branches around the wires to our house from the utility pole.  They carefully trimmed - at our request and with us watching - the trees in our yard and while they left no branches leaning against the wires, you wouldn't have known they'd been there.  

So this wasn't what they normally do.  This goes back to a trimmer with a problem.  

If the mountain ash in front of our house were to be reduced to naked trunks overnight, I'd be upset as well.  And it's worse if something like this happens due to someone's recklessness than natural causes.

My heart goes out to Blue-in-AK and I hope you quickly find new opportunities to enjoy the yard.  Perhaps you can grow some vegies in the added sunshine until a new tree takes hold.  Or, as others have said in your comments, the tree may surprise you with thick regrowth in a year or two.  I know rose bushes need to be severely trimmed, and I've seen other trees come back quickly from such radical trimming. 

1 comment:

  1. In Seattle Cass Turnbull founded Plant Amnesty to prevent the torture of trees and shrubs by such asshats. "Plant Amnesty’s mission is to end the senseless torture and mutilation of trees and shrubs." Maybe we need a Plant Amnesty in Alaska.


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