Human/tree relationship critical for trees to thrive
August 18, 2009
NORTH PLATTE, Neb. – “If we want to have trees in our communities, we have also to recognize that we are part of the community of the tree,” said Jack Phillips, consulting arborist. “Our lives are intertwined.”
During a seminar on tree care, Phillips discussed the human/tree relationship and how it impacts the ability of trees to grow. People like to think about trees giving them shade, cooling and all kinds of environmental advantages. However, it’s very difficult to find a natural place of any kind where the lives of all plants and animals are not impacted by human activities.
“They make our parks playable and our streets livable and our neighborhoods valuable, but it’s very seldom that people will stand and look squarely at a tree,” Phillips said
People notice trees peripherally, out of the corner of their eyes as they are driving down the street or backing out of the driveway. People don’t spend time looking at trees, not just looking for something wrong or making a diagnosis, but enjoying the tree.
“Human history has evolved in the shade of trees,” Phillips said. “There’s a dependency on trees.”
Aboriginal people captured that relationship in their art and economies. Trees are the most “pervasive, wide-spread and prominent cultural and religious images” in all cultures.
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A problem with arboriculture is that too many people try to diagnose and cure when they need to get out of the way and let the tree grow the way it was meant to grow, Phillips said. Noticing trees and how they grow would go a long way toward allowing them to thrive under their own conditions.
“I think we would be better off, and trees would too, if we looked at them differently – actually, physically looked at them.”