Half trees

Neil

by Neil Carleton

  To anthropomorphically paraphrase the second verse of the Beatles 1965 song ‘Yesterday’ is a good way of introducing the roadside shady characters of this month’s column.  At the first keystroke, the tune came rushing back from musical memories of almost half a century ago.  Although it’s the most covered song in recording history, I’ve only had ears for the original Beatles creation with its spare, haunting lament of loss.

Suddenly, I’m not half the tree I used to be, There’s a shadow hanging over me …

I’m sure you’ve seen them too on your travels along country roads and municipal byways in our area.  They’re rich in growth on one side and trimmed to the trunk on the road side where a telephone wire or hydro line runs close by.  They’re the half trees of our community.

With its leaves off in this December 2012 shot, looking northward, this roadside oak near 3975 County Road 29 has the appearance of reaching, stretching to the west for the sun’s energy.
With its leaves off in this December 2012 shot, looking northward, this roadside oak near 3975 County Road 29 has the appearance of reaching, stretching to the west for the sun’s energy.
A thick foliage covers most of its skeletal limbs and trimmed trunk in this July 2013 view.
A thick foliage covers most of its skeletal limbs and trimmed trunk in this July 2013 view.
Closer to Almonte, at 4139 County Road 29, this laneway ash grew too close to the highway for the interests of the utility companies whose lines pass nearby.  A December view reveals strong branches on the west side.
Closer to Almonte, at 4139 County Road 29, this laneway ash grew too close to the highway for the interests of the utility companies whose lines pass nearby. A December view reveals strong branches on the west side.
Well established roots keep this tree firmly anchored as a thick canopy of July leaves on only one side grow ever outward to produce food for its continued growth.
Well established roots keep this tree firmly anchored as a thick canopy of July leaves on only one side grow ever outward to produce food for its continued growth.
Although many roads in our area have a row of polls along the west side, not all half trees are growing on the westward or afternoon sun side of the lines.  This tall oak, on the 8th line of Ramsay at the Clayton Road, on the way to the Mill of Kintail, is growing between the road and hydro lines.  Years of trimming have kept its branches away from the wires.
Although many roads in our area have a row of polls along the west side, not all half trees are growing on the westward or afternoon sun side of the lines. This tall oak, on the 8th line of Ramsay at the Clayton Road, on the way to the Mill of Kintail, is growing between the road and hydro lines. Years of trimming have kept its branches away from the wires.
Another big oak farther south on the 8th line, opposite the western end of Emerich Street, has been routinely trimmed over the years too.  True eh, not half the tree it used to be.
Another big oak farther south on the 8th line, opposite the western end of Emerich Street, has been routinely trimmed over the years too. True eh, not half the tree it used to be.

Do you have a notable or favourite tree?  Readers are invited to submit their nominations for an honor roll of trees in our area that could be featured in future articles.  You can contact me at 613-256-2018, <ve3nce@rac.ca>, or Neil Carleton, 3 Argyle Street, P.O. Box 1644, Almonte, Ontario, K0A 1A0.  I look forward to hearing from you.

 My volunteer columns started in March 2010, as print features, to support the tree planting and tree awareness initiatives of the Mississippi Mills Beautification Committee.  The contact for the Tree Working Group is Ron Ayling, 613-256-4617.  In Carleton Place, the contact for the Urban Forest / River Corridor Advisory Committee is Jim McCready, 613-257-5853.

Until the next column, you’ll find me looking for and hanging out with shady characters.