Janesville59.1°

This Arbor Day, a tree-mendous loss

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Greg Peck
April 25, 2013

I love trees. Trees are central characters in two stories Iíve crafted in my creative writing hobby. Itís sad to me that we had to cut down one of our two big ash trees last year and that the ash borer will devastate much of Janesvilleís urban forest in the next few years. We planted a hackberry to replace that fallen ash, but it will take decades to provide the sort of shade and beauty that ash offered. In the meantime, we'll be investing more than $200 for a two-year treatment to try to save our remaining ash--and the great shade it provides.

Large old oak trees fascinate me. Enjoying a couple of the really big oaks is one of the main reasons I like golfing at Blackhawk Golf Course in Janesville. (It certainly isnít because of my scorecard!).

I was sad, as well, to read Anna Marie Luxís column in todayís Gazette about a huge oak, thought to be 150 years old, which will be cut down along the Rock-Jefferson county line to make way for the Highway 26 expansion. Iíve interviewed longtime forester Mary Ann Buenzow, as well, and I share her pain in contemplating that treeís demise.

Arbor Day is Friday, and itís worth noting that Janesville was just named a Tree City USA community for the ninth consecutive year by the Arbor Day Foundation. Instead of bemoaning the future loss of ash trees and this majestic oak, itís time to consider what we can do to plant more trees. Last weekend, a friend told me he just planted a peach tree, apparently one suited to our climate, on his property near Lake Koshkonong. I expressed interest in the idea, and he forwarded me a link with the details of this particular tree, dubbed the Madison Peach.

Another friend in Janesville has a peach tree and told me that a couple of years ago it provided lots of fruit. I told him peaches are my favorite fruit, but so far, he hasnít gotten the hint (maybe last yearís hot, dry weather wasnít good for the harvest).

Iíve mentioned to my wife, Cheryl, how we might consider planting such a peach tree in a corner of our open, fairly sunny side yard. We might just follow through. Do you have a spot where you could plant a tree? If not, why not call Parks Director Tom Presny at 608-755-3025 and ask if you could donate one to the city for planting?

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook



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