Last fall, the owner of a local tree service company in Traverse City informed us that our oak trees had a disease called “oak wilt.“ He went on to say that his company had recently removed three infected oak trees from a neighbor‘s residence across the street, and that oak wilt was on the rampage in our area.
We assumed that, because this man was in the tree business, he knew what he was talking about. Indeed, our oaks had been shedding leaves and some of the remaining leaves were a bit wilted. The trees did have some dead branches near the top. So we believed him.
As it happens, a friend of ours owns and operates a tree removal service, so we hired our friend‘s company to remove the oaks. We didn‘t think to tell him why, as we thought the oak wilt problem would be obvious.
After he took down the first oak, our friend casually asked why we were removing these splendid trees. “Because they have oak wilt, “ I replied. “No they don‘t,“ he said, “they look like they just have ‘anthracnose.‘ It‘s Just a temporary condition brought on by the cool, wet spring weather. Your oak trees will recover in a few weeks. “
He encouraged us to verify his opinion with a forestry expert at Consumer‘s Power before he removed any more trees. We did, and he was right. Our oaks did not have oak wilt. None of our trees needed to come down.
The forestry expert from Consumer‘s Power went on to inform us that some tree companies frequently misdiagnose oak wilt, thereby causing many oaks to be needlessly destroyed. The man from the other tree service gave us such misinformation, which cost us a few hundred dollars and the loss of a beautiful oak tree.
If you have oak trees on your property, especially white oaks (which are much less susceptible to oak wilt), beware of the oak wilt warning. Don‘t take your oaks down without having them tested.
We are sad to have needlessly lost one huge healthy oak tree because somebody was misinformed. Thank goodness we happened across a company which had the correct knowledge and saved the rest of our beautiful trees.
Vita Kennedy Morse Traverse City
The parent trap
In response to your June 13th editorial “An abandoned son . . .,“ Ted Rall‘s
experience of abandonment is truly disheartening; however, I believe focusing
on divorce or a “broken home“ as a cause of his suffering is misguided.
Parenting is the more direct cause.
To oversimplify, let‘s say a bad parent is someone who causes suffering to
their child because of their own irresponsible behavior and selfishness, in
the extreme abandonment or physical abuse. A good parent is someone who
places their child‘s needs on a par with, or in preference to, their own
Good and bad parenting thought of in this way is independent of the parent‘s
relationship to each other. Good and bad parents exist in both two parent and
single parent situations. It could well be the case that there are more bad
parents raising their children as “traditional“ married couples than as
“broken home“ divorced parents. Good and bad parents also exist as foster
parents, adoptive parents and same sex parents.
The quality of parenting is not necessarily dependent on the category of
relationship the parents maintain. For example, assuming a parent‘s
unhappiness is often visited upon their children, parents can do more harm to
their children if they are living together miserably than living apart
Divorced dads, divorced moms or “broken homes“ are not the issue, quality
of parenting is the issue. Children are more likely to be happy adults if
they are fortunate enough to have good parents, regardless of their parents‘
David Halperin Traverse City
The next headline for Random Thoughts should read “how to open mouth and insert both feet.“ Hope they fit okay. (In regard to a column disparaging the Red Wings entitled “Hockey‘s Great Geriatric Experiment.“)
Scott Stites Traverse City
(Oops. I was hoping no one read that column. I learned my lesson: never bet against Scotty Bowman and experience. -- G.F.)
Our president in action
Recently Bush met with Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso. Not far into the conversation, Bush asked the 71 year old statesman an unexpected question:
“Do you have blacks too?“
Condoleezza Rice was present and jumped in to save Cardoso from having to answer, informing Bush that in fact Brazil is home to more blacks than any country outside Africa.
The incident, witnessed by the White House press corps, is more proof that
Bush knows nothing about the world he lives in -- AND LEADS! This is terrifying!
Equally terrifying: the American media did not report the incident. There seems to be an unwritten rule that while it‘s ok to acknowledge Bush‘s lack of “intellectual curiosity,“ any hard evidence of utter stupidity must be covered up.
Armando y Yuly via email