Silver Maple Receives Death Warrant

Norwegian Maple, N. 20the Street and Alturas Street, Boise

Silver Maple, N. 20th Street and Alturas Street, Boise

This is a Silver Maple tree, across the street from WC’s house. It’s likely more than 100-110 years old and more than 100 feet tall. It has homed Eastern Fox Squirrels, a family of Western Screech Owls, countless Eurasian Starlings and American Robins.

It received a death warrant on Tuesday.

Its crimes are (1) being old, (2) being a Silver Maple, a notoriously big branch-shredding species, (3) showing symptoms of disease and (4) shattering the curb on the northerly side of Alturas Street.

The Infamous Red "X"

The Infamous Red “X”

It’s a big tree. More than four feet in diameter. This part of Boise enjoys more than 60% urban tree canopy, and this fellow provides a chunk of it. But the damage to the curb is apparent, and Alturas Street is scheduled for re-paving next summer.

The Death Warrant

The Death Warrant

“ACHD” is Ada County Highway Department. A famously hard-nosed, cold-blooded outfit. The City of Boise has a Community Forestry Department. Not something a lot of communities can claim. According to Community Forestry, Silver Maples are now prohibited:

Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum)
This Class III species has weak wood that is prone to extensive decay creating an extreme public hazard.  The species may appear viable despite the hazardous condition.  Silver maple also have shallow, aggressive roots that are more likely to damage sidewalk and curb than many other allowed species.  Species grows quickly to 70+ feet tall and wide.  Silver maple is more prone to storm damage than any species growing in Boise.

This tree was grandfathered in. In fact, it’s older than anyone’s grandfather. The sidewalk, built in 1913, was poured around the base of the tree. As you can see from the first photo, the City tried pruning beforehand. But the tree just wouldn’t stop being an elderly, curb-munching Silver Maple. And, so, a death warrant. WC can’t claim to be entirely unhappy about it. The winter storms here come from the northwest; WC’s house is downwind.

The City is very good about not wasting the tree after it is down. Community Forestry has a mulching program. Any salvageable wood will be seasoned and sold as firewood. Sometimes a private lumber mill will buy the wood, but usually it’s not market quality. These trees aren’t cut until they are well past their prime.

Boise has a Community Forest Plan. Something else not every community can claim. The Plan reports there are 32,500 trees on public land, including 20,500 or so in the public right-of-way like this big boy. Even if a tree lives an average 100 years, that still 325 trees a year that get a death warrant.

If WC is in town when the execution happens, photos will be taken.

Boise is the City of Trees. It’s the official motto. This tree was part of that. No more. Requiescat in pace.


4 thoughts on “Silver Maple Receives Death Warrant

  1. My wife Margie finished her working career at the Boise Parks and Recreation Forestry unit. Thanks for this blog it will help any readers understand why their beloved tree needs to come down before it hurts property and or people. She used to get to del with a lot of calls complaining about trees scheduled for removal. Even had the occasional protestor chain themselves to the tree.

  2. Here is a blog you might like to know about. You and Marina continue to inspire me.

    And here is a link to my latest blog. I had a blast communing with dozens of Lewis’s Woodpeckers yesterday but this is only about the start of the day.

    Ken Miracle 208-908-9493 “Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God” 2COR 3:5


  3. Excuse me for posting twice. When I was a child we lived near the community of Des Moines south of Seattle. The main road was planted with elm trees that later were removed due to disease and paving issues. A halcyon memory is the 4th of July when the parade through town was bordered by those shady trees. A beloved library, housed in the corner of a large structure called the field house, too was shadowed by huge trees. I drove through the area a few years back and was astounded to see none remain. If only there was a photo online, it was surreal to see nothing but pavement. Record every one of those trees in your neighborhood as they are removed. Someone will be forever thankful for your efforts.

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