Aging Tree Canopy

If residents think they are noticing an increase in fallen trees around town this year, they are correct.

According to Ralph Ramsaur, Town of Matthews Landscape Manager and Town Arborist, the increase is due both to the recent hurricane and excessive wind and rain – “big storm events,” he termed it. “Trees in low-lying areas can fall after a lot of rain. Many times, there is a good percentage of decay and signs of old age in the fallen trees.”

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

Recently, a decayed tree took down a pole and fence near the Fire Department. Other downed trees were found within a number of subdivisions and on Weddington Road.  Areas with older trees which are most susceptible include Stumptown and Squirrel Lake Parks.

According to Ramsaur, some recommendations for safety and maintenance include: having trees inspected professionally and having homeowners walk their property to take a closer look at their surrounding trees. Among the signs to watch out for: fungus, giant mushroom type-growth around the base of a tree, and an increase in black carpenter ants or termites. Also, if you look up at a tree and don’t see any leaves at the top, this may also signal decay.

Among the tools that arborists/tree professionals may use is a “resistograph” - a fine drill that goes into the tree to test resistance, providing a percentage of tree decay. If a tree shows more than 35-40%, that tree should be removed, according to Ramsaur.

Photo by Linda Edwards/White Rock Studio

Photo by Linda Edwards/White Rock Studio

The trees in Matthews are a part of its character. These are old Matthews trees that have been here since Matthews was founded.
— Linda Edwards

For Judi Bex, owner of property on West McDowell Street, and Linda and Joe Edwards of White Rock Studio on South Trade Street, more than a few trees have fallen between them; all had to be professionally removed.  These are beautiful old trees,” said Bex. “(This) is the price of owning a home.”

But, the downing of such trees is bittersweet for long-time residents such as the Edwards, who have watched their (same) surrounding foliage for more than 35 years. “The trees in Matthews are a part of its character. These are old Matthews trees that have been here since Matthews was founded,” said Linda. “We’re going to miss the shade so much. It’s almost like a part of Matthews history has gone away.”

However, while something familiar is now gone, it has been replaced by a something new. “I have sun coming through where I didn’t know there was sun!” exclaimed Linda.