I enjoy my morning coffee each day on my back patio. The view I have isn’t anything special but I do enjoy the quiet of the morning only to be interrupted by the birds chirping, announcing the sunrise.
During my quiet morning time there is one tree I am forced to look at in my neighbor’s yard. Actually half of the tree reaches into my yard. Being a tree guy, I know this is just a weed tree they had not planned for or planted, it’s a mulberry tree. I also know that they value this tree highly; it’s the only tree on their property that provides any shade for them and their beagle, Jack.
This tree is growing larger and larger each season and continues to creep into my living space, disturbing my morning view. How do I tell my neighbor that I hate this tree? I am certain I’m not the only neighbor who feels this way.
You can’t choose your neighbors or their trees, I suppose.
I wonder, though if they ever feel the same about my trees. Since we moved into this house just over a year ago, we have planted 14 Trees in and around our yard. I did not consult with them when I made my tree choices or decided where to plant.
Here’s the thing: knowing trees and knowing the benefits these Trees will provide for years and years to both my neighbors and our home, I planted with full confidence that we would all enjoy these trees. But since planting them, my neighbors have not acknowledged the new additions to the landscape. I was secretly hoping they would ask about each of them and this would lead to a conversation about having that weed tree removed.
A guy can hope.
I will admit that when I made my tree choices I did not give much thought to fall leaf clean up. I have most likely added to their list of chores, especially in the years to come. This got me thinking about how my planting choices have imposed on my neighbors unintentionally, much the same way their tree imposes on my morning time.
Today most tree planting is done selfishly, I suppose and I was guilty. I wonder what the rules are for this, the protocol. Is there proper tree planting etiquette we should follow?
The thing is, we all benefit from tree planting when we choose the right tree for the right place. This is what we should focus on sharing. Because trees benefit our health, our property values, reduce crime and fight climate change. Research proves this conclusively and shows that more trees result in an all-around improved quality of life.
As I consider this and watch people interact with trees—their own, their neighbors’ and the ones that line our streets, I realize that there is an unwritten, ungoverned rule that says we are all responsible for trees in some way, regardless of where they’re planted.
Wouldn’t the landscape be more beautiful if we planted for each other, for our neighbors, our children, our communities and ourselves? We all have responsibility for the trees we choose and the legacy we leave behind. As it should be.
Thanks for reading and growing,