Editorial: Lose the Leylands

Published 12:27 pm Tuesday, May 14, 2024

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It’s not a petty item, Brent.

While talking about a controversial zoning amendment, County Commissioner Brent Shoaf recently added his two cents worth: outlaw Leyland Cypress trees as potential buffers.

He’s right.

Thirty or so years ago, I planted five of the evergreen trees, which promised plenty of greenery and fast growth. The trees delivered on both. I was proud. I planted three-foot tall trees, and within a few years, we could walk out our side door and not be seen – or blinded by the setting sun.

Ten years in, and I had to spray the trees with a chemical – you only have about a two-week period when it will work – to stop insect infestation. Still, there were brown branches here and there where the insects had taken ahold.

Twenty years in, the first two died. They turned brown from top to bottom. They were cut down and  burned. A couple of years later, I pushed another one of the trees over. That’s right, went right up to the tree, gave it a gentle shove and down it went. It had rotted at the bottom from insect damage.

There’s one left, periously leaning over our tomato patch and driveway.

The point is: Brent Shoaf is right.

Outlaw these darn trees. They deliver on what they promise, but down the road …

And while they’re at it, maybe the commissioners can outlaw Bradford Pear trees, as well. This one may be more controversial, because those trees are beautiful when in bloom. But consider this; birds won’t even build a nest in them because they know they could come tumbling down. Just wait for our next ice storm and see how many Bradford pears suffer major damage.

Yes, Brent, the types of trees we plant – and allow  or don’t allow in our zoning ordinances – should be specific.

It’s not petty at all.

– Mike Barnhardt