Don’t trust your arborist

When I was a kid, I recall having what I felt was “more than my fair share” of dental work. I vividly recall, at around 24, asking my dentist “why do I need so many fillings, caps and crowns?” His honest answer somewhat surprised me. He plainly stated, “Because the last time I saw you was three years ago, and I get the feeling I won’t see you for another three years.” He was doing preventative work, with the assumption that “eventually” my teeth were going to go bad.

I’ve never trusted dentists since then. I mean, I get it. He was probably right, but still, removing otherwise healthy parts of my body in the anticipation that something would go wrong eventually, seemed like something out of “Minority Report” to me. I also can’t help but feel there was a profit motive as well.

I have recently come to the conclusion that the same is true of arborists. Like our teeth, our trees will “eventually” rot and die. When I recently had my 100-plus-year-old oak tree cut down, my neighbor (who I found out was a retired arborist) approached me and inquired why we had it taken down. I told him our arborist suggested it was sick and needed to go. His reply was, “Was he also the guy you paid to take it down?” Yes, in fact, he was.

The truth is, everything dies. To that end, everything is on a slow march toward the grave. Unless your tree has obvious signs of dying fast – like large branches coming down – it’s probably cheaper to let it be or to nurture it. Our legacy trees are one of the best things about living in Philadelphia’s garden district. In the last five years, I have been witness to an unprecedented decline in our canopy. I believe most of it, like me, is people being scared into emptying their pockets and felling our historic trees.

Tim Jones
Chestnut Hill


Not opposed to deer cull

I have noticed the recurrent complaints in the Local about the culling of the deer population on Fairmount Park. I can convince nobody on either side of the argument with data or information. Opinions are fixed.

But my opinion is that it is no sin to cull deer from Fairmount Park. However, it would be sinful not to utilize the meat, hide, antlers and other portions of the animals.

Unless you are a vegan or vegetarian, arguing that the killing of deer (when the meat is eaten) is not an issue of ethics, but merely aesthetics.

And for those who can make an argument based on ethics, are their arguments tinged with elements of self-righteous superiority? Is it an attempt to enforce upon others something like their religious beliefs?

That is a question I am unable to answer.

Thomas Shoener
Chestnut Hill