Betsy’s Corner: The Acorns and Oak Trees in Forest Acres

I am lucky! I live in an ancient oak forest. Awe inspiring tall trees provide shade for my yard and our neighborhood. Majestic and strong, oak trees provide a green canopy over our homes and parks. Why are some of those towering old oaks splitting, cracking and breaking apart? Age plays a role, but recent wet weather and strong winds, combined with lightening have wreaked havoc around here. The age of all kinds of Longmeadow’s trees is posing a problem. Mature trees that reach 80-100 years old just have issues.

Look what happened twice on Longmeadow Street, where trees took out electricity when limbs broke. If you see a broken or dangerous tree or tree limb, report it to the DPW in town. Trees that are rotten can be deceiving. We need to pay attention to our trees, and in some cases take them down for safety reasons. At least 100-200 trees a year are lost, and we need to plant just as many trees as replacements. These are trees located on tree belts and public property. Trees on private property need to be checked as well. Precarious limbs overhang our streets and the areas where children walk to school. If an oak falls, it will surely cause damage!

At a recent lecture at Storrs Library, Dr. David Marinelli spoke about the history and identification of town trees. Longmeadow has earned the title of “Tree City USA” for 27 out of the past 35 years. We hold an annual Arbor Day celebration in our local elementary schools and we appreciate our trees.

Dr. Marinelli heads up the town’s Tree Committee. If you want to contact the town regarding a tree, you can also download an “app” to your cellphone called YourGov. If you send a photo of a town tree that needs attention with your username and password, your observation and/or complaint will be entered into the system.

There is also a Tree Warden in town whose responsibility it is to care for our trees. There are many trees that need pruning and taking care of. Please contact him at the DPW. I have called many times in recent years to report downed trees within Bliss Park. Trees that block the town trails are cut and removed on a regular basis.

The more I learn about trees the more I wonder how they survive so long. We pave our sidewalks close to trees, make our driveways expansive and hardly ever notice their impressive beauty. At this time of year, hopefully we notice the exotic reds, golds, yellows and oranges of the aging leaves.

Lately, I have been aware of the falling acorns that dent our cars and make loud noises at they ping on pong onto our barbecue grill and stone patio. They are very loud and powerful! It is the squirrels that often knock them to the ground and then scurry across your lawn to burry them.

The acorns are huge this year and the squirrels often put their lives in peril as they jump from branch to branch! This year many squirrels met sad fates in the streets of our neighborhood. Forest Acres, also known as the Kibbe Tract, is a scenic tree-lined area on the northern side of town. I suggest a walk to observe the beautiful trees near Bliss Park.

If you use Farmington Road as a cut through, you will surely be dodging squirrels as you zigzag along hitting acorns. Until recently, Columbia Gas was digging up our streets around here and upgrading the gas lines. Since the tragedy near Andover, the gas company seems to have stopped the Longmeadow project for a while. Every day I reflect on that sad situation and realize that it could have happened here in Longmeadow. “But for the grace of God go I.”

– Betsy Huber Port is a Longmeadow resident. Questions and comments for Betsy may be made by sending an email to