And now, October, of course, it is time to have one's breath taken away by the changing leaf colors, as in:
But I must be honest and also confess that I am a tree killer. I have cut down or pulled out by the roots easily over 1,000 trees and saplings in the past decade.
Heck, just in the past month, I have paid quit to the lives of hundreds of buckthorn trees. What, you want proof? OK, here it is:
Those piles of greenery inside the red boxes are buckthorn I have cleared from an area along a branch of the Chicago River. Here's proof they are, in fact, dead trees:
Am I being horrible and terrible and killing the world?
No way! I am working hard to save a thin chunk of forest that is turning into a sad and unhealthy monoculture. To quote the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, "Common buckthorn was first brought here from Europe in the mid-1800s as a popular hedging material. It escaped and became a nuisance plant, forming dense thickets in forests, yards, parks, and roadsides. It crowded out native plants and displaced the native shrubs and small trees in the mid-layer of the forest where many species of birds nested."
And you can definitely see that happening in this forest. Here's just one photo of many I took showing buckthorn (four thin, dark trunks - probably because it was cut back years ago) crowding around and eventually choking off another tree:
Yes, it is an ironic but unavoidable truth that due to the spread of invasive species (by the #1 invasive species in the world: humans), those of us who pay attention to non-Humanland and attempt to repair some of the damage our species has done often have to kill plants and animals in order to save native habitats.
I plan to create a Buckthorn Brigade here in Chicago, a team of concerned citizens who will join me in an effort to eradicate buckthorn (not that we will ever truly achieve that!). Let me know if you are interested!