Around Town

Charlotte, be afraid of your trees

The Story

Charlotte loves its trees (except when they get in the way of an awesome development). But now, the trees are striking back.

The Facts

– All those gorgeous trees lining Charlotte’s old city neighborhoods — Elizabeth, Dilworth, Myers Park — were planted when those neighborhoods sprang to life between 1895 and 1923. Now, they’re getting old and fragile.

A Charlotte Observer analysis shows that of the 35,000 street trees in those neighborhoods, only 40% of the trees are in good health.

– In Chantilly, only 12% are healthy.

The Consequences

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This isn’t a matter of a few broken limbs. This problem is deadly serious:

– A 9-month-old baby’s skull was fractured in Myers Park when a 50-pound willow oak limb snapped and fell on her. The baby recovered; the tree is getting cut down.

– A tree fell on East Boulevard and hit a passing car, leaving the driver a quadriplegic. The city will pay $5 million to settle a lawsuit.

– A woman was killed in 2008 when a tree on East Boulevard fell on her car. The city paid $975,000 in that lawsuit.

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– Just yesterday, two huge trees fell on a Dilworth property, crushing the house and making it too dangerous to live in.

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Our love/hate relationship with our trees

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Tree I love! #charlotte #fall #myerspark A photo posted by angelamessier (@angelamessier) on Nov 23, 2013 at 9:54am PST

C5’s Take

The Observer did a cool graphic on the health of trees throughout Charlotte. Check it out to see how your part of town is faring.

Not to sound all responsible and home-ownerish, but it’s important to inspect your big trees: Are mushrooms growing around their base? (sign of decay) Big cracks? Dead limbs? Call an arborist if you’re worried.

 Photos: Davie Hinshaw / Charlotte Observer

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