A Tribute To A Majestic Tree

A tree’s days like those of all life are finite. The loss of a tree can evoke many of the same emotions as the death of a human and a beloved pet. Just last week, our

Birchcrest tree crew removes Pittsford copper beech.

arborists had to remove one of the most majestic trees in the Rochester, New York region.

Surely you heard about the copper beech tree in Pittsford. News of its impending removal reached the four corners of the globe, thanks to the Associated Press. I even read the story in the New York Times.

That majestic tree had stood in the same spot since the early part of the 19th century. Its graceful branches spread out over the village as if protecting it. Its beautiful copper-colored leaves gave a unique hue to the park that the village built around the tree

Imagine what that tree witnessed over its lifetime of more than 200 years. The settlement, the growth and the development of the village and the town that surround it. But alas, all good things must come to an end. In this case, the copper beech’s decline was caused by a microscopic fungus.

The cooper beech was so beloved by Pittsford residents that it was incorporated into the town logo. And, the night before our crew was scheduled to take the tree down, the town invited resident to join in a ceremony to say good-bye to it.

While the rot fungus, Kretzschmaria deusta, ate away at the tree from the inside out like a cancer, the forward thinking town leaders had healthy cuttings taken from high up in the tree. These have been rooted and are now about a year from sapling size. Once they reach sapling size, these clones, which will have the same exact genetic footprint as the parent tree, will be ready for planting at various locations around town. One place they can’t be planted, however, is in Copper Beach Park where the original tree stood. That soil is contaminated with the fungus.

It is my hope that the story of the copper beech and how Copper Beech Park got its name is written into any local history curriculum taught in Pittsford schools. Then, hopefully, some local official won’t come along years from now and question why the park is named Copper Beech Park when there’s no copper beech there…and move, with no opposition, to change the name. That would prove the truth to what Spanish poet and philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

2 comments on “A Tribute To A Majestic Tree

  1. The oldest trees in the world live here, although not so many are in landscapes. Our trees are very different from yours, and most of the oldest were not planted, but we take them just as seriously. So many were harvested before they were protected.
    I wrote about an old valley oak that needed to be removed last year.

  2. Life in a tree is very real. I am so glad it is being cloned into new trees. That old tree surely thanks you. I hope the wood can be used for something lovely. Also wrote one about a tree’s emotion on my blog. Thank you for this story. I had not heard of it til your blog.

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