Ask a Question forum: People trashing trees!!!!

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Name: Audrey
Central Texas (Zone 8a)
Organic Gardener Keeper of Poultry Keeps Horses Butterflies Photo Contest Winner: 2015
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Esperanza
Jan 14, 2015 6:58 PM CST
O.K. so this is some what of a rant but I am curious what others think of this. In the area I live in folks before Christmas go out and decorate a cedar tree on the side of the road with their favorite bird killing trash and then leave it there. What the heck? Why cant they keep there cheap glitter plastic in their own space? Am I over reacting? It just chaps my hide. I find it no better than dumping a dog or a old mattress on a back road. It would be one thing if they cleaned it up but they don't. I am thinking about putting a sign on the back of my car while I go clean up those idiots mess. How would you deal with it? I sure wish I could track down the people littering nature and give them a ticket.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Jan 14, 2015 9:33 PM CST
Surely there is an ordinance, and they would get a ticket if they are caught. Phone the sheriff's non-emergency number and report it as soon as you see a decorated tree. Most states have a $500 fine for littering the highways. Check with your county. How many trees are we talking about here?

To stop the practice and prevent future mess like that, you gotta educate the dummies doing it.
Maybe alert the local TV station to do a short piece on it, including the potential dangers of the stuff to wildlife.

I'm not unsympathetic, but I feel the same about roadside memorials. Their loved ones should be remembered at home, not on the spot where they died.

Next year, put up signs near the trees that have been decorated - you may need to get a permit. Maybe:
"Decorations are a threat to wildlife and become an eyesore very quickly".
"Would you decorate a tree in your neighbor's yard?"
"Please do not decorate the beautiful trees on public lands."

If you clean it up and don't take steps to prevent it, it's going to keep happening.


Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Jan 14, 2015 10:09 PM CST
I think the same thing about people that release balloons in the air. This used to be really popular thing to do, I don't know so much anymore, but I hate it.

I think roadside memorials are a nice way to remember a loved one, a part of the healing process for some and also serve as a reminder to others on the road who see it-to take more care when driving. However, I do think that ordinances should be passed that mandate memorials to be removed after a number of days or maintained-whatever. They should also be constructed of natural or biodegradable materials. Fresh flowers, pinecones, sea shells, ect. That would help.
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Jan 14, 2015 10:10 PM CST
Tacky trash is tacky trash no matter where it is located. It's okay to be annoyed about what impact this could have on wildlife.

It might be a good idea if the local community (maybe a local bird club or Wild Bird Unlimited store?) could start a movement requiring a permit - the money raised could benefit local wildlife rescue - and the main requirement would be that the materials used must be bird safe AND all natural. Before, during and after photos required to prove that they cleaned it all up after the holiday season is over.
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Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
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Leftwood
Jan 14, 2015 10:31 PM CST
Ditto what dyzzypyxxy said. Don't forget the possibility of newspapers.

Maybe go out in the middle of the night and put up a sign in front of those decorated trees, saying something like:
THIS TREE KILLS BIRDS" in big letters that can be seen by people driving by. In smaller print you could put an explanation of how it happens. The only person that will probably stop and read the small print will be the offender herself (or himself). And they'll remove the sign for you, to boot. Honestly, they are probably thinking they are spreading good cheer in a harmless way, so don't be vindictive or condescending in your wording.
Name: Annie
Waynesboro, PA (Zone 6a)
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LysmachiaMoon
Jan 15, 2015 7:28 AM CST
Tacky trash is tacky trash. I AGREE. I don't like to see "memorials" along the highways or these decorated trees either. In addition to all the great ideas, how about decorating a tree with the RIGHT KIND of stuff for birds....chains of popcorn, sprays of millet, threads of berries. And CALL YOUR NEWSPAPER. Local newspapers are always looking for good feature stories and they're more likely to respond to a positive idea ("here's a great idea for bird safe tree decorations!") than negative ones. Although I do think the suggestion to write letters to the editor about the trash trees is a good one. Is there a local chapter of a nature group in your area that can take this up as a "cause"?
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Name: Audrey
Central Texas (Zone 8a)
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Esperanza
Jan 15, 2015 6:59 PM CST
Thank you for all the great advice. I am glad for the feedback. I was starting to feel like the evil green man on the hill stealing everyones who berries. I did send in a request to news channel last night, but have no word back. I then did a google search to post some comments on any articles about it and was shocked at the number of sites telling you how or how cool it was. I might be swimming against the current on this one Shrug! I will contact some groups and see if I can set something up for next year where a group sells nature friendly décor and profits go to a nature charity.
Name: Carol Texas
Central Texas (Zone 8b)
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Ecscuba
Jan 15, 2015 9:07 PM CST
@esperanza I'm up in Georgetown. I thought they only did this along 360 - but they have started doing it up here too. It's really a blight - they never come back and remove the decorations after Christmas. Looks terrible.
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Name: Audrey
Central Texas (Zone 8a)
Organic Gardener Keeper of Poultry Keeps Horses Butterflies Photo Contest Winner: 2015
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Esperanza
Jan 16, 2015 8:21 PM CST
Ecscuba said:@esperanza I'm up in Georgetown. I thought they only did this along 360 - but they have started doing it up here too. It's really a blight - they never come back and remove the decorations after Christmas. Looks terrible.


I know it is sad. I live west of you on 1431 and they have been popping up randomly more and more every year. Even had one on my own street this year Grumbling . I just can not settle down about it. I wish people would pull their head out of their own self absorbed bubble and see the bigger picture. That is my new years wishful thinking Rolling my eyes.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Jan 17, 2015 12:05 AM CST
Audrey, I totally agree with everything that has been said here... and I do think that the decorations are very well-intentioned, but that doesn't really help. Can you write a "letter to the editor" in your newspaper? I think that would be a good place to try to spread the word. And perhaps try to get some of the local service organizations involved to help with cleanup? Believe me, there ARE other people in your area who are thinking the same thing, the trick is to get them together. I wish you the best of luck, because I really hate that kind of thing, too!
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Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
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keithp2012
Jan 17, 2015 12:31 AM CST
My whole area every tree was cut down just so they could widen a road or plant grass, the trees were over 100 years old and they aren't planting replacements. How's that, we don't get a say in the matter and we live here.
Name: Audrey
Central Texas (Zone 8a)
Organic Gardener Keeper of Poultry Keeps Horses Butterflies Photo Contest Winner: 2015
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Esperanza
Nov 25, 2016 1:08 PM CST
Well, I never got my act together to offer bird friendly alternatives.
[Last edited by Esperanza - Nov 25, 2016 4:31 PM (+)]
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Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
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Leftwood
Nov 25, 2016 3:57 PM CST
May I please reiterate what I said previously:
Honestly, they are probably thinking they are spreading good cheer in a harmless way.....


I have already stated, and still completely agree with your views here. But now, when you further characterized them as selfish, this is a determination for which I can find no evidence.
Why would you (and how did you) formulate such a far reaching conclusion?
Name: Audrey
Central Texas (Zone 8a)
Organic Gardener Keeper of Poultry Keeps Horses Butterflies Photo Contest Winner: 2015
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Esperanza
Nov 25, 2016 4:30 PM CST
@ Leftwood I was a making a huge blanket statement about environmental issues as a whole. I am going to edit my statement. I was ranting and really am sorry for being such a Grinch. It was not helpful to anyone and just a rant in the wrong forum.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Nov 25, 2016 4:36 PM CST
Audrey, I don't think your stance is selfish in any way. You are right, and unfortunately the people doing this silly practice are, in fact, doing harm. They simply don't know it.

I still think the right way is to go to the media about it, and have them cover the environmental harm in order to educate people.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Nov 25, 2016 6:55 PM CST
Of course it is selfish behavior, people everywhere know that littering is against the law, harmful for animals and an eyesore. It clogs up storm drains and depending on what it is can leach chemicals into the water. You have to be under 5 years of age not to know all of this ! So for people to continue doing this type of thing and not to mention-failing to come back and clean it up later- they have to be only thinking of what they 'want'. And that is selfish.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Nov 25, 2016 8:31 PM CST
Esperanza said: Well, I never got my act together to offer bird friendly alternatives.


No time like the present! Smiling

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Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
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Leftwood
Nov 25, 2016 9:34 PM CST
My point is that the motivation was most likely NOT selfish, but to bring cheer to passersby, albeit misguided. Does anyone really think they were purposely harming wildlife, knowingly creating an eyesore and willfully littering?

Frillylily said: they have to be only thinking of what they 'want'. And that is selfish.


Exactly. Selfishness is concern for oneself, not for others. If indeed their intention (want) was to bring cheer to other people, how is that selfish?

But your point is certainly valid, and I had already thought about it prior to my previous post. Unintentional consequences are a different matter. Assuming these were unintentional, they cannot be selfish. The outcome makes them irresponsible, in my view. Show me that they wanted to purposely harm wildlife, knowingly create an eyesore and willfully litter for their own gain, and I will agree that these are intentional consequences, and therefore, selfish.
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Nov 26, 2016 11:15 AM CST
Well I suppose we will have to agree to disagree on this point. I doubt telling a police officer that their motivation was to bring cheer would get them out of a ticket for littering. They are not misguided. They are leaving stuff, trash, things, human made objects on property that is not theirs, and it harms wildlife. Whether that is their intention or not, they still know they are not supposed to do this. I would say personally I think it is more of a prank-something to get away with, so when they drive by they can tell their friends, -hey see what I did! much like graffiti. The problem is that short of catching someone in the act, there is no way to stop it, besides continuing to remind people not to do it, and to encourage people who see it to clean it up. Yes, sadly, I have had to pick up other people's trash. It really didn't harm me! Whistling
Name: Niki
Bend, Oregon (Zone 6a)
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HighdesertNiki
Nov 26, 2016 11:26 AM CST
I thought this was interesting. I like how everyone was working together to come to positive solutiond instead of ranting. There is a little tree in my front yard I was thinking of decorating (not all year long). Now, if I still choose to decorate it (The little tree looks nice like it is.) I have been given options that benefit wildlife as well. My kids can make a popcorn garland.
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