Nightmare Elm Loses Limb 

Controversial elm tree in the Fan roils neighbor after a giant limb crashes into the street.

click to enlarge street41_tree_300.jpg

David Robinson knew it would happen someday — it was just a matter of time. While he worked a few blocks away at his accounting firm Oct. 5, a monstrous branch on the American elm tree adjacent to Robinson's house was clipped by a passing truck and tumbled to the street.

This is no ordinary elm. The 70-plus-year-old tree at Plum Street and Floyd Avenue has branched into full political drama. Robinson says the tree is infiltrating the foundation of his house, tripping pedestrians and posing an all-around safety hazard. His efforts to remove the tree span months of talks with city workers, squabbles with neighbors and a proposed-then-withdrawn city law by 2nd District Councilman Charles Samuels. There were separate assessments by a city arborist, an independent engineer and city lawmakers. Finally a compromise meant new bricks around the tree.

Robinson's trouble started with a policy that prohibits removing trees on city property without the approval from the municipal tree specialist.

Samuels' ordinance sought to circumvent this policy after arborist Luke McCall declared the American elm healthy; the following debate saw impassioned pleas from neighbors and prompted 5th District Councilman Marty Jewell to allude to the film “Nightmare on Elm Street” at a meeting.

Then, just a few months after the tree's life was spared, one of its large branches that towered above Plum Street fell off.

“Small amounts of ‘I-told-you-sos,'” Robinson says of the branch, which he alleges was hollow. “The city should take another look” at the tree's health, he says.

City spokeswoman Sharon North says McCall was at the recent removal of the branch from the street and that the city plans to remove a couple more branches after November, when the tree will be dormant and less susceptible to Dutch elm disease. “It's not a dead tree,” North says.


Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

  • Re: Switch Voter: A Richmond Businessman Leads a Made-For-TV Brigade of Trumpocrats

    • Rickers must have been undermining Democrats since he was many of those Dems got…

    • on October 24, 2016
  • Re: Library of Virginia Layoffs Will Hinder Open Government, Preservation of Historical Record

    • This is what happens when you elect a doofus who's is a politician first, and…

    • on October 23, 2016
  • Re: Switch Voter: A Richmond Businessman Leads a Made-For-TV Brigade of Trumpocrats

    • Donald Trump is a very bad candidate. But all the others are so much worse.

    • on October 23, 2016
  • More »
  • More by Sara Dabney Tisdale

    Copyright © 2016 Style Weekly
    Richmond's alternative for news, arts, culture and opinion
    All rights reserved
    Powered by Foundation