Mary’s Musings

Privately owned downed trees and limbs

Posted:  Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - 10:00am

Two recent wind storms brought down a tremendous number of trees. Maine is the most heavily forested state in the nation, with an estimated 24.3 billion.Even before the latest blow, we noticed that we’ve lost a lot of trees in recent months and years. As we drive around on the peninsula as well as throughout Midcoast Maine, we can’t help but see the number of felled trees within eyesight of the side of the road. We don’t take nature walks through the woods, but if we did, we’re sure it would be sad to see the devastation.

We don’t have much soil here on the coast and many of our trees don’t have deep roots; it doesn’t take much to bring them down. While state officials often remove or trim downed trees along our turnpikes and major highways for appearance sake, on most of our side roads the wooded areas close to the road are usually privately owned. Maybe we’re forgetful, but as a youngster, we seem to recall that landowners did a pretty good job of removing felled trees and limbs, probably due in part to the fact that so many more homeowners had woodstoves then as their major source of heat. If they didn’t want the wood themselves, it was probably easier to find someone only too glad to do the work to get the free firewood.

Many of the trees toppled by the recent storms took large chunks of the ground and roots with them. We could see that some of them had been resting on ledge and didn’t stand much of a chance.  Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do about that problem.

Downed trees privately owned along the side of the road which aren’t bothering anyone aren’t apt to be removed anytime soon unless they happen to be directly in someone’s yard, or blocking a driveway. Tree removal is costly if you can’t do it yourself, and most of us can’t.

The scenic beauty of wooded areas close to the edge of the road will probably never be the way we remember it. Dead trees and downed limbs somehow don’t have the same appeal.