A leaning tree raises concerns

in Contributors/Lee Scott/Voices by

By Lee Scott

There are two trees in my front yard that appear to be leaning. I have been studying them since Hurricane Matthew.

Truthfully, I cannot verify they were leaning prior to that time, but they are leaning now.

My spouse suggested it was my imagination and not to worry about the trees. However, a recent “alert” from the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office got me concerned.

The alert cautioned citizens about falling trees and limbs due to heavy rain and high winds. Many trees have been weakened by the hurricane.

Well, that was my call to action. I went out and looked at the two trees more carefully. They looked like they were leaning to me. It was time to research the subject.

The experts online suggest you answer two questions. Are there exposed roots? Can you see cracked soil?

“Mmmm, not really,” I answered. But I was determined to go a step further.

I set up my camera on my tripod at the end of the driveway and took a picture of the larger tree. Two weeks later I took another picture at the same distance and at the same time of the day. I then compared the two photos. It was my intention to ascertain if the angle of the tree to the ground had changed.

As it turned out, two weeks was not enough, there was no discernable difference in the pictures.

The following week, I took another picture and I took my findings into my spouse.

“Look”, I exclaimed, “there appears to be a difference in the angle of the tree. This is the time to do something!”

He shook his head and explained that he really was not concerned by the tree.

“First,” he said, “we never walk on that side of the yard, so if it falls, it is not going to hurt us or the house. Second, we have pictures of the house when we first bought it three years ago, and that tree looks the same today as it did then. Third, why should we pay for someone to take down a tree when Mother Nature might take it down for free?”

Good points.

I took my pictures, my camera and my tripod back to my office while mumbling, “You could have told me all that in the first place.”

“No,” he said, “it was too much fun watching you.”