A nearby construction and hardware store has a large parking lot and in this parking lot stands a lone tree. The farmer and I have had conversations about this tree. I don't remember offhand what type of tree she is, she doesn't drop noticeable fruits or seeds, but she's a good size, maybe 12 metres tall with a fairly broad canopy. A handsome tree with nice spreading branches. She's slightly raised above ground level and there's a low wall around her to hold in her dirt. Her trunk is maybe 60 cm in diameter.
I wonder about this tree. She stands alone without interaction from other trees, her roots are bound somewhat under concrete which must reflect a lot of heat back on her underside leaves and branches. The rain that falls around her is taken off to drains and doesn't penetrate the soil around her. Vibration from passing cars and exhaust fumes must stress her.
But the farmer wonders differently. He sees that she has no competition from other trees, that she's free to grow as she likes, without the stress of reaching for light or dropping lower branches to conserve strength. Her roots are protected by the concrete and always cool. The rain that falls will get to her through drains but she'll never be waterlogged.
The tree looks good, she seems to be doing well. She makes a resting place, a point of shade for birds and insects in an otherwise barren area. She brings beauty to drabness.
We use trees for shade, decoration, camouflage in our urban and not so urban areas. They grace us with micro-environments of shade, protection, focal points of beauty and peace. Their green offers a resting place for our eyes in fields of gray; if we stop to listen we might hear the wind in their leaves or a bird or insect or squirrel in their branches. They offer habitat for smaller species of plants and animals. They show us what nature is. Next time you are driving along a freeway, or pulling into a parking lot for a big store or mall look for the trees there, and thank them.
Let's start a guerrilla composting campaign. Each time you see a tree in a parking lot drop some compost or vegetable scraps or leaf cuttings by it. Feed the trees!!!!
In looking for the photo I came across a couple of interesting sites on trees in parking lots. This one discusses the best trees to use (albeit for the southwestern US, but interesting nevertheless). This one discusses how best to maintain tree health in urban environments. And this one talks about the importance of trees for urban water systems. Happy browsing!