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Photo: Art Keene

Town Trees And The Decline Of Sugar Maples
The town’s tree warden knocked on our door earlier this week and told us that he had decided to take down our sugar maple tree. The tree was just a sapling when we moved into our house in 1982 and ought to be in the prime of its life now. But over the last three years it had begun to look sickly. We consulted a couple of arborists who told us that it was not going to get better and so we knew we were going to lose it eventually but hoped that it might hang on for several more years. The tree warden said that sugar maples are not doing well across the Northeast and it’s likely due to climate change. The town will eventually plant a new tree – something more suitable for Amherst’s current climate. We are grateful to live in a community with an active arborist and a shade tree committee. This past week, tree crews have been out and about in Amherst, checking on the health of trees, clearing branches that extend too far over the roads, and taking down those trees that are dead or dying. With the intensifying decline of Sugar Maples in the Northeast (see also here), due at least in part to climate change, we thought it would be a good time to revisit Kitty Axelson-Berry’s 2019 interview with Amherst Tree Warden Alan Snow.

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Thanks for reading the Indy,


Art Keene
Managing Editor

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2 thoughts on “Dear Reader

  1. Speaking of which, it’s worth noting that the large maple on the town common that’s been our town’s “Merry Maple,” will also be coming down this year. I happened upon Alan on the common a few months back, and he told me the sad news. He said while it could be preserved a few more years, it’s on its way out, and since the town will be doing some work to improve the common this year, it makes sense to handle the landscape of the tree now while we have a chance. He pointed to a relatively tiny tree (maybe 15years old I’m guessing?), and said that it was actually the original Merry Maple. I’m wondering if it will be again. Or if we’ll have to move on to a nearby oak or something. Perhaps the interview you link to above will provide insight. Thanks for the article.

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