Friday, August 17, 2012


Once you look for them, they're everywhere. The giant oaks that give our neighborhood much of its character, that shade us in the summer and through whose branches the winter wind blusters and moans — these trees are dying.

We have two dead trees in our yard now; we're waiting for the winter discount rates to take them down. But we're not alone. On my walks through the neighborhood I spot more dead or dying trees than I can count. It's the drought, arborists say. Or it's simply their time.

Dead trees have been in the local news recently, too, since a 140-year-old oak with root rot blew down in a storm, crushed a car and killed its driver. This sparked a search for other ailing trees on state rights-of-way. And now chain saws are buzzing all over Fairfax County.

I drove past a work crew yesterday at an intersection where I often stop. What used to be closed and private is now open and exposed. It's safer now, that's true. But it has lost its character.


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