Arboreal vandalism – trees for peas


The pea crop starting to come through in the roadside field

The pea crop starting to come through in the roadside field

The first ash tree to be felled

The first ash tree to be felled

The second ash tree felled

The second ash tree felled

A few weeks ago I had to stop my car for five minutes on a single track country road near home, the reason being that a roadside ash tree was being felled. I asked the chap stopping the traffic (only my car!) why the tree was being taken down and he said that there was a risk it was going to fall on to the road. The tree was on the banking at the roadside and was certainly leaning slightly towards the road, but looked a mature and healthy tree.  There was a tractor in the field with a rope attached to the tree to take the strain and to pull the tree into the field as it fell.  The tree had been nearly sawn through by the time I was stopped and a few minutes later the job was completed and it fell into the field.  It had been cut well up the trunk, probably to minimise damage to the fence as it fell, but the whole job looked to me to be quite amateurish.

On my way home the tree had been sawn into logs and was being carted away. I wondered at the time if the men had checked the tree for nests, though in fairness I pass there most days and there was nothing obvious.

I thought no more about the tree until I passed a couple of days later and another mature ash tree had been felled and cleared away, as had a number of hawthorn trees. Even if there had been a risk of the ash tree falling on to the road there was certainly no such risk with the hawthorns. The real reason for the felling didn’t take much working out: the field was still in plough apart from a wide endrigg onto which the trees were felled and cut up. All crops were in by that time apart from pea and bean crops and I was sure a pea crop was planned. Sure enough a few days later the ploughing was complete and peas were sown.

To me this was sheer vandalism carried out to allow the pea harvesters to harvest the peas right to the edge of the field, rather than lose a tiny bit of the crop. A couple of pounds worth of peas were clearly worth more than two mature ash trees. I doubt even if nesting birds were considered and I am not even sure if the trees belonged to the farmer since they were at the top of the roadside banking. Was permission required or sought to fell them? I often wish that I was back working again and in a position to investigate.

I absolutely hate to see healthy trees taken down without good reason. Many more farmers nowadays have consideration for the environment.  What a pity that this chap has let them down.

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