Letter: Ode to Trees

Above: A resident’s bittersweet “ode” warns to enjoy a graceful, surviving tree before invasive insects find it. (image cropped from photo by Carl Guyer)

[Ed note: My Southborough accepts signed letters to the editor submitted by Southborough residents. Letters may be emailed to mysouthborough@gmail.com. 

This letter is from Carl Guyer.]

To the Editor:

At some time in the near future, you may want to either walk or drive along Parkerville Road in Southborough in the vicinity of the Mary Finn School, As you pass by Mooney Field, the baseball field, you have the opportunity to witness a large unique tree standing next to the stone wall running parallel to the road. It stands there alone as a surviving witness to a blight that will eventually bring it down.

Parkerville Elm (photo by Carl Guyer)The tree is a large American Elm. If you have the time, you can stand on the sidewalk and look up at the graceful arching branches of this once common species. Ironically, this lonely specimen is a member of the species (Ulmus americana) designated as state tree of Massachusetts. Once these graceful trees were found all along the roads and streets of towns and cities. They created beautiful arched tunnels with their arching branches. Sadly the have been nearly wiped out by the Dutch Elm disease. Estimates are only 1 into 100,000 of the trees in existence in the early 20th century are alive today.

Unfortunately we don’t have an American Chestnut trees like this to admire like this. They got decimated in the same time period by another blight. It is estimated it killed over 4 billion trees in a matter of a couple of decades and forever changed the ecology of the east coast of America. They produced bountiful, delicious nuts that once gone had a significant impact on the wildlife of New England. The only reminder we have is referenced on a song commonly heard at Christmas time.

Right now the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is chewing its way through millions of Ash trees in the USA. This insect was first discovered in Michigan in 2002 and has quickly decimated the White Ash trees in the Midwest. It is now in Massachusetts and taking out the last of the ash trees.

Lantern flies (created by Carl GuyerNext up on the list of horrors is the Spotted Lanternfly which was first discovered in 2012 in Pennsylvania. 5,000 egg masses of this insect have been recently found in Worcester and Springfield. This species finds food in a variety of native plants and will like others eventually alter our environment.

So if you get a chance and would like to pay tribute to an American icon, take time to admire the large Elm tree on Parkerville Road before it is gone.

Carl Guyer
146 Middle Road

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eileen samberg
1 year ago

Beautifully written. It makes so sad. We were in NJ in October and the spotted lantern flies were all over…

Brian Beauvais
11 months ago

Great post! We must support tree species diversity and sustainability in town.

David Parry
11 months ago

Sad story. My house at 22 Main St (actually now owned by my niece) is built of CHESTNUT WOOD. So is the barn. Very strong.

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