Speaking From Experience

cycle_experiencepostAs residents, we love the trees that line our streets. And so do many of the visitors to our neighborhood. Recently, SOE received a $500 donation from a cyclist who happened upon Ladd’s Addition. Read about his experience regarding elm loss, and why he chose to be so generous…

I just made a donation to Save Our Elms. I was prompted to do that by the sight of a yellow Save Our Elms sign I saw in Ladd’s Addition on June 22. I was touring the neighborhood on a recumbent trike that I had just purchased at Coventry Cycle Works. The sign was at the northwest end of SE Birch Street. The sign taught me that elms were present, which I didn’t know, and that they were in danger, which did not surprise me.

Normally I do not get too excited about diseased trees, but Dutch elm disease made an impression on me during my childhood in the late 1950s and early 1960s. I was living in a neighborhood in Rochester, New York whose streets were lined with tall elms that provided a high, glorious canopy. Dutch elm disease appeared and took its toll. All the elms got sick. The neighborhood got more and more naked as the trees were removed. We moved away shortly thereafter.

When I visited my old neighborhood about 40 years later, I learned that time heals all wounds. The streets were unrecognizable—not because they were naked, but because of the density and types of trees [as a result of replanting]. There were no elms present as far as I know, but the neighborhood was something of a jungle compared to the atmosphere it had when elms abounded. It was heartwarming to see such rejuvenation.


What Kind of Tree Do I Have?

Curious about the age, type or health of the street tree in front of your home? It’s easy to learn more about your tree(s) by clicking here to access the latest Portland Street Trees map. Double click on your neighborhood to zoom in on your address then single click on the green circle in front of your home.

The map is the result of a Portland Parks & Recreation effort to compile data on all 5,444 street trees within the Hosford-Abernethy neighborhood. The data was collected by Urban Forestry staff and volunteers to create the neighborhood’s first complete street tree inventory which will be used in the creation of a Neighborhood Stewardship Plan. The Plan will be essential to guide home owners and volunteers in caring for the community’s trees. It will also be used by organizations like SOE to prioritize tree plantings (fill empty spaces and replace aging trees), maintenance and to monitor for disease such as Dutch elm.

Fighting the Void, Filling the Void

Fighting the Void, Filling the Void

“It hurts to lose one of these trees.” Those are the words of a Ladd’s Addition neighbor who is living with an empty space in front of his home due to Dutch elm disease. Ladd’s Addition experienced elm loss again this summer in the areas near Ladd & Lavender and Abernethy Elementary School. That’s not unexpected. In addition to transmission by the bark beetle, DED can spread via the root system of side-by-side trees, so adjacent trees are most susceptible. Roots can even spread under the street to affect trees in the opposing parking strip.

Save Our Elms is as committed as ever to protecting our majestic elm grove, and all street trees, in Ladd’s Addition. Our efforts include:

Inoculation. SOE’s inoculation program has been successful in limiting annual elm losses to an average of 2 to 3 % of the grove.

Pruning. SOE negotiates discounted American elm pruning pricing for homeowners. It’s essential to remove dead branches to stem disease.

Planting. SOE has planted 687 street trees – elms and many other species – in Ladd’s Addition since the organization’s inception In fact, SOE has planted almost 45% of all the trees in Ladd’s since 1986!

We are working to add another preventative measure to our tool kit. SOE has been talking with the City of Portland to gain approval to trench the soil between elms. Trenching eliminates root grafting between adjacent trees to decrease the spread of DED. We hope to have approval soon.

Thankfully, the void left by lost trees doesn’t last for long. The disease-resistant elms that SOE plants each spring grow at an impressive average of 15′ in just five years and almost 40’+ in 20 years. Young elms are typically at least 6′ tall when planted. Here are examples of elms planted in Ladd’s in recent years. The elm on the left was planted in 2006, the elm on the right in 1990.


Please make a tax-deductible donation to Save Our Elms today as so many of our neighbors do every year.  Help fight the void!  One hundred percent of your investment is used for SOE tree protection and planting efforts.  Please send your check to: Save Our Elms, 1630 SE Elliott Ave., Portland, Oregon  97214.  Thank you for your support.