Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone ….

“Don’t it always seem to go That you don’t know what you’ve got
Till it’s gone …
They took all the trees
Put ’em in a tree museum
And they charged the people
A dollar and a half just to see ’em”
Joni Mitchell

Trees lining streets slated for sidewalks funded through grants by the Michigan Department of Transportation and The Pokagon Fund.  To appreciate the destruction by the City, take a look at the hacked up roots of big old red oak trees on Clinton, Marshall, Monroe, and Eagle off of West Detroit Street.  It is surreal.

By next year, many of these fine old trees might be dying or dead.














“Stop the saws! Smart gardeners should not prune oak trees past April 1 to ensure their trees don’t succumb to oak wilt disease. Avoid pruning until November.”  

The destruction of native red oak trees by the City Council’s rush to
install sidewalks includes Clinton, Marshall, Monroe, and Eagle with Chicago Street next.  Without first waiting until the dormant season in November or consulting experts from the DNR, Michigan State Extension Service or a reputable arborist service, this destruction might lead to a costly community wide epidemic of oak wilt.

This disease is in areas of Michigan near New Buffalo. Once a tree is infected, it cannot be saved with the disease traveling easily from diseased trees to healthy ones. Smart municipalities interested in keeping the disease out of their communities educate homeowners to prevent trauma to the trees and prune them carefully during the cold dormant season when the beetles carrying the disease have died out. Compromised trees, such as the ones currently being molested for the Safe Route to School sidewalk grant process are infected first.

According to Roger Mech, Forest Health program specialist for the DNR Forest Resources Division, oak wilt is a serious disease of oak trees that mainly affects red oaks, including northern red oak, black oak and pin oak. Red oaks often die within a few weeks after becoming infected. White oaks are more resistant; therefore, the disease progresses more slowly.

Once an oak is infected, the fungus moves to neighboring red oaks through root grafts. Oaks within approximately 100 feet of each other – depending on the size of the trees –  have connected or grafted root systems. Left untreated, oak wilt will continue to move from tree to tree, progressively killing more red oak over an increasingly larger area. As more trees die from oak wilt, more spores are produced, and that contributes to the overland spread of oak wilt.,4570,7-153-10366_54559_10402-409559–,00.html

“A spreading fungal disease is threatening to wipe out tens of thousands of oak trees in the state of Michigan, prompting the formation of a new task force to curb its spread.

The Oak Wilt Coalition, led by the Arborculture Society of Michigan, is aimed at raising awareness of the destructive potential of oak wilt and methods of preventing its spread. Others in the coalition include  the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Michigan State University, ReLeaf Michigan, and electric utilites and tree care companies.”


BY Joyce Kilmer

A tree killed by Oak Wilt

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

(and only fools kill trees)

Photos of Clinton, Marshall, Monroe, and Eagle taken Sunday, September 24, 2017

First they lacerated the roots on one side of this oak but that wasn’t enough, then they did the same to the roots on the other side, making sure the roots were well damaged on both sides. (I believe this is on Marshall Street) as are the ones below.

Root damage to this mature oak.


Below is a large oak on the corner of Monroe and Detroit.Due to the hot dry weather, many trees like this one are already stressed.  Adding to it is the chopped roots left by the destruction by the City.  All for sidewalks the majority of residents on the tree lined streets don’t want.

10 thoughts on “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone ….

  1. Susan Gotfried Post author

    Well said Rubia. Of course there is no simple fix to replace 100 year old canopy trees and you are right, once the soil is contaminated, no tree can be safely planted there for several years. We are talking about dozens of trees being destroyed by the work being done, then hundreds destroyed by oak wilt. If they get a handle on it and do preventive work professionally, the destruction could be limited to the trees on the streets already compromised. And could save the trees in other neighborhoods.

  2. Rubia Jasinevicius

    It’s not an easy fix, and your sarcasm, casual commentary or lack of lucid thought only reflects ignorance. No, you cannot replace or plant 3 or 8 saplings or whatever number your ‘thought’ process dictates . The disease is spread through the roots,, as well , It is serious and is not just within the trunk or canopy by beetles and the vicious cycle they spread where — only where we can visualize the destruction. Hence, the soil is contaminated. Take time to become educated – read up on what PhDs and other experts have documented. What has taken a life time to or two to grow and flourish (100 to 200 years) to be destroyed by profiteers in moments for faulty sidewalks or what seems to some as laundering money through colluding contractors or city administrators is sickening — particularly, when supported by those that ridicule the loss of an environmental canopy — as you do.

  3. Susan Gotfried Post author

    George, the city council never bothered to replace the dead ash trees that succumbed to the emerald ash borer with new canopy trees. I don’t have a clue why they ordered the destruction of these oak canopy trees unless they have a master plan that they are not telling us about that moves us into a new direction where trees are not needed.

  4. Susan Gotfried Post author

    George, for the city council to plant replacement oaks is a good idea, unfortunately, it will take a 100 years for them to grow as big as the ones the council ordered killed.

  5. Susan Gotfried Post author

    Dr. Seuss was a very smart man. You are right about the arborist. The one the city uses said I had a healthy sugar maple when it reality, it was a dying Linden. We need experts in the field from the DNR and NSU extension service. The bloated pockets of the council members contractor friends is sickening. Council member Liz Ennis lives at the end of West Indiana Street. She has to go pass the destruction she ordered everyday. Tree killer is what she and the other council members should be called.

  6. Rubia Jasinevicius

    We can’t trust previous alleged city arborist — time to bring in the professionals and education. Trenches are required to be dug around infected trees in order to prevent the spread. I can only shake my head in dismay at all ignorance and the destruction that a few individuals so entrenched in profiteering (or other interests) will obliterate what little beauty may remain in New Buffalo. It seems a 2-mile square cement parking lot is the vision of the city, the current Planning Commission, City Council and the DDA. No canopy, no Master Plan, no law, no order…nothing.

    “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” “I am the Lorax”.
    – Dr. Seuss

  7. Susan Gotfried Post author

    Mayor O’Donnell and council members Ennis, Kroll, Robertson, and Spirito might end up as being remembered as the council that killed the oak trees in New Buffalo – The horrible thing is that it is too late to save the trees they already ordered slaughtered.

  8. George Dobie

    Trees take a long time to grow. Start now. Kindly tell me of the City plans to replace the old trees that may be compromised. Trees elevate the value of all surrounding property. If you wack one down, plant 3 or 8. Today, not tomorrow.

  9. Rubia

    Thank you for posting and spreading the word. It is heart wrenching to see the probability of oak wilt with the recent unseasonable heat. Allegedly Sawyer has 5 oaks succumbed to this disease. I will University of Michigan and hopefully a PhD will come out and asses the area.

Leave a Reply