Guying Detail for Arbor Day

The site engineering firm’s detailed drawing really does call out for Joyce Kilmer’s famous poem, as hackneyed as it is.

It’s Arbor Day, people, so remember the trees. Thinking thusly, yesterday I pointed out the fence surrounding the tree pit a dog was crouching in to the man holding the dog’s leash. I see tree pits being used like this all the time, of course — curbing is so pre Age of Entitlement — but the fence made it particularly egregious. But this was the first time I’ve said anything about it, because expecting a New Yorker to be civil can often lead to the most defensive ugliness. And, predictably, the guy said he didn’t care about the fence.* I said that wasn’t very respectful to the neighborhood, the tree, and most specifically the people who’d put the metal (not cheap) fence up, and he said — oh, this was priceless — that he was respecting his dog by letting him excrete wherever he wanted to. I love dogs, but people like him give humans a foul odor.

*He also said I probably didn’t have a dog, which is correct, but having grown up with them, having dog-sat them professionally, and generally enjoying their presence, I’m aware of a little something called “dog training.” That response, sadly, was L’esprit de l’escalier.

Update: Reading that some people believe that dog pee is a good fertilizer. Here’s a Philadelphia dog walker and tree steward who explains why this just is more of the pseudo-scientific nonsense that saturates this country.

2 Responses to “Guying Detail for Arbor Day”


  1. 1 Paul Lamb April 28, 2012 at 4:12 am

    I confess to having mixed feelings toward the goals of the Arbor Day Foundation. While I certainly support the effort to put more trees in the ground and nurture them to growth, the Foundation seems to push the goal as “any tree, anywhere.” Another Bradford pear on a suburban street hardly seems necessary. A non-native tree in my Ozark forest feels invasive to me (and not always hardy).

    I’ve planted hundreds of trees (another twenty five in the last month), and I encourage others to do the same, but I think more attention should be given to the right tree in the right place.


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