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A woody plant that has many secondary branches supported clear of the ground on a single main stem or trunk

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"Of all man's works of art a cathedral is greatest. A vast and majestic tree is greater than that."

  • Oct 27, 2009
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This quotation from the prominent 19th Century American clergyman and abolitionist Henry Ward Beecher certainly reflects the way I feel about trees.  Did you know that trees are the oldest documented living organism?   Trees add to our quality of life in a variety of important ways.  First and foremost,  trees help keep the air that we breathe pure.  Secondly, trees are an amazing renewable natural resource that help to keep our homes warm in winter and provide us with a vast array of wood and paper products that we use everyday.  Fruit from trees is also an essential part of a healthy diet.  And as well all know trees are just plain beautiful. 

Now I grew up in the city and trees were fairly scarce in my neighborhood.  We were fortunate enough to have a good size maple tree in our backyard and this is where our family sought refuge from the blazing hot summer sun. Imagine for a moment those poor souls who live in tenements or housing projects in large urban settings where there is no such option available.  I think that many of us take trees for granted.  I have to chuckle when I hear folks in suburbia moaning and groaning in the Fall because they have to rake leaves. Seems like such a small price to pay for a spring and summertime full of enjoyment!   I find that the older I get the more that I appreciate trees. And I must confess that I do get upset when I see fully grown trees sacrificed to make way for yet another strip mall or Wal-Mart Supercenter. That's progress I guess.  But I cannot help but think of the lyrics from the old Joni Mitchell tune "Big Yellow Taxi":

They took all the trees
Put em in a tree museum
And they charged the people
A dollar and a half just to see em
Dont it always seem to go
That you dont know what youve got
Till its gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot 

There is an old saying that goes something like this:  "The true meaning of life is to plant a tree under whose shade you do not expect to sit."  I can only thank God for those good folks who came before us who took this sentiment to heart.  And now it is our turn to be good stewards of our environment. There are countless ways to go about this.  You can check out some of the great ideas by going to www.arborday.org.  The mission of the Arbor Day Foundation is to "inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees."  There you will find opportunites to plant a tree in memory of a loved one or perhaps in celebration of a new birth, birthday or anniversary.  At the same time I would urge you to support city, state and federal programs aimed at planting trees in urban areas.  You will make life so much better for those who must live and work there.  

Finally, regardless where you might find yourself on any given day take a few moments to stop and appreciate all of the trees that surround you. As Henry Ward Beecher observed so many years ago they really are a wonder of God's creation. 
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February 23, 2010
Very well said. Joni Mitchell's lyrics do say a lot. I've been blessed in that wherever I've lived there have been a multitude of trees of many varieties. It's hard to beat the fall colors in Kentucky.
October 27, 2009
Loving all your unique reviews Paul - hiking, autumn, gossip, public libraries, and now trees! I've learned a lot about you just from reading them. A couple of days ago I actually came across a new study (I have no idea where) that concluded that people who spend more time in green spaces get sick less often. You can Google it if you want to find out more. Thanks for making Lunch all the more unique with your unconventional reviews :)
More Trees reviews
review by . February 23, 2010
Plant a tree: We'll all breathe easier
There are a multitude of reasons to plant a tree. Many may be obvious, but some are not so obvious. We learned in science class that trees take away the bad carbon dioxide in the air and then release to us and every other living thing good oxygen. Hooray for the trees! We also know that trees can be beautiful and serene. However, trees can also add to the betterment of our future in many, many other ways. So, why plant a tree? trees are the home of songbirds trees shelter wildlife from their predators …
Quick Tip by . March 06, 2010
I live in a community where you can't cut trees without a permit. We love our mature woods and protect them diligently.
Quick Tip by . March 04, 2010
Providers of shade, oxygen, beauty & then some :)
Quick Tip by . October 27, 2009
I love a neighborhood with a lot of trees and greenery....really adds to the ambiance. I planted Blue Spruces in my front yard, now huge!
About the reviewer
Paul Tognetti ()
Ranked #2
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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A tree is a perennial woody plant. It is most often defined as a woody plant that has many secondary branches supported clear of the ground on a single main stem or trunk  with clear apical dominance.  A minimum height specification at maturity is cited by some authors, varying from 3 m to 6 m;  some authors set a minimum of 10 cm trunk diameter (30 cm girth).  Woody plants that do not meet these definitions by having multiple stems and/or small size, are called shrubs. Compared with most other plants, trees are long-lived, some reaching several thousand years old and growing to up to 115 m (379 ft) high.

Trees are an important component of the natural landscape because of their prevention of erosion and the provision of a weather-sheltered ecosystem in and under their foliage. They also play an important role in producing oxygen and reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, as well as moderating ground temperatures. They are also elements in landscaping and agriculture, both for their aesthetic appeal and their orchard crops (such as apples). Wood from trees is a building material, as well as a primary energy source in many developing countries. Trees also play a role in many of the world's mythologies (see trees in mythology).

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