A sickly 100-foot, 40-ton tree. A car driving through Great Falls Village, on Georgetown Pike near Walker Road, at 6:45 p.m. on a Tuesday. Witnesses said the driver tried to stop and avoid the falling tree, but could not. The driver, Albert C. Roeth III of Great Falls, was killed. The photo, taken and tweeted that night by the Fairfax County police, tells the rest.
But in the wake of the derecho and the lasting damage it inflicted, residents around Northern Virginia are suddenly becoming tree experts. I was in one neighborhood discussion last night where the word “arborist” came up with ridiculous frequency. That was in between spot diagnoses of questionable oaks and hickories. “That one’s headed straight for the kids’ bedroom.” “The ivy is slowly taking that one.”
Justin Jouvenal’s follow-up story on the Georgetown Pike tree and the reader discussion that ensued touch on many of the issues being batted around NoVa kitchen tables right now: We all want trees for shade and aesthetics, but we also want to live. How do we strike that balance? Most power lines are above ground. As we’ve seen in Maryland, the discussion is now raging about preserving power vs. preserving great old creations of nature. And what to do about trees along the roads? Who could possibly monitor and maintain so many trees?
What to do? You got answers? Do they involve the word “arborist”? Let us all know in the comments.