14 May 2007

Mistreatment of Trees

When GLH and I first moved to Switzerland we could not believe the widespread torture we were witnessing.

Here is some evidence...


These are trees! Cruelly mistreated until they are barely recognizable.

Oh, the inhumanity!

I had to know what these poor, sad, Dr. Seuss-esque trees were and asked my landlady, whose husband is a master gardener. She explained they are plantane. In English they are called sycamores, sycamore maples and plane trees. Un-Swiss Miss calls them "Tortured Trees." Their official name is Acer Pseudoplatanus.

You see them everywhere throughout Europe. They are very popular in urban areas because they are resistant to pollution and disease, grow very quickly and provide excellent shade.

But do they have to treat them so cruelly? To appreciate the full horror, here are some during the winter without leaves that help mask their deformities:



Because there is no way that a tree would choose to grow this way, it is obvious that intervention is required. They have to be fitted with a contraption that forces them to branch out in this unusual manner.



From a very young age, the trees must wear this device until they are deformed.

But it is not needed! For we have seen sycamores that were allowed to grow free, tall and proud:

And they still provide a great deal of shade.

So please, be kind to your trees. Let them grow unfettered. Allow them to live the life they were meant to live!

This has been a public service announcement.

9 comments:

Samantha said...

Those trees are really creepy - you find them all over France too. They always remind me of a gnarly old hand reaching up and trying to grab you.

Kirk said...

We had a bunch of those in our neighborhood in Basel and I always wondered if they were sycamores because the bark and leaves were the same as a sycamore in our backyard here, but since our sycamore is a zillion feet tall and doesn't have knobby-knuckled branches I figured I must be mistaken. Thanks for solving the mystery!

rswb said...

I think they look kind of optimistic and happy when they start getting leaves in spring, though. They remind me of trees that have been burnt in a bushfire and have that fluffy look that new leaves give. Neither fire nor council-workers can stop them!

Impossible Jane said...

I have a beautiful sycamore in my yard and praise it daily for the lovely shade it provides.

Wonder what the Tree People in Lord of the Rings would have to say about this sort of torture? Love those guys.

A Librarian said...

Who are you and what did you do with my friend? You know, the tall girl who only believes in outside as a concept, not a reality and doesn't plant or grow things, ever. What did you do with her???

Global Librarian said...

Becoming "outdoorsy" in Switzerland is a form of self-defense. You've got to blend in somewhat to avoid ostracization!

I promise that I will never go camping. I can only take outdoorsy so far.

Un-Swiss Miss said...

What scares me the most: some people here (Swissy Pie included) think that the trees naturally grow this way! I didn't even notice the leaves were sycamore leaves until you pointed it out.

Expat Traveler said...

I think I'm so accustomed to the look that I started liking that look more than they are supposed to be...

But you got me looking to see which trees here they are. Since I don't have a clue with names/species/types etc. I just laugh even more...

I'm sure they don't trim the trees like that here in Canada though!

LOL - love librarians comment...

jessica said...

I actually love the look, it's gnarly and interesting, whereas when they are tall and unformed, they look like a boring version of the elm.