Thank you for printing Susan Andrew’s Nov. 2 article about Wells Fargo’s destruction of three trees at the corner of Patton and Louisiana avenues in West Asheville so that its new sign would be more conspicuous from every angle [“The Beat: Three, Two, One … Xpress].
The article correctly observed that Wells Fargo had a permit to destroy trees, so it was legal. The important question is, was it right?
That it was not right is obvious for two reasons. First, the unusual size of the oak. It was a stately tree, at least 50 feet high, towering over a corner of undistinguished retail buildings and their unremarkable foundation plantings. The oak was the tallest tree along the entire length of the Patton Avenue strip, and was visible for much farther than the sign that replaced it. If, as Wells Fargo claims, some disease was in its upper branches, a competent arborist could have removed the affected branches.
Second, the unusual variety of the oak made cutting it not right. That was no common street tree. It was a columnar English oak, also known as a Cypress oak, the only mature specimen of its species that I know of in these parts. Even the North Carolina Arboretum does not have one in its collection. For good reason, it was a Treasured Tree.
Wells Fargo made a mistake in cutting down that magnificent tree, and the city planning department made a mistake in not catching them before they made that mistake.
— Stephen Weissman