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An Urban Planning Snafu + Links

July 17, 2011 · 39 comments

in Home & Garden, Link Round Up

Many years ago, the city I live in did a great thing- they planted trees.  Trees were planted along the curbs of every house, in parks, all over the place.

You would think our city would be lush in green from this tree-planting initiative, but it isn’t.  The reason?  The city decided to plant the same kind of tree everywhere- ash trees.  So, when the tree-destroying Emerald Ash Borer took up residence in our town (without paying taxes), a huge percentage of the trees were killed by these horrible insects.  The city spent a lot of money cutting down and disposing of these trees, and the city looked bare.  (You would think city planners would have learned from the Dutch Elm Disease, which killed many trees in Metro Detroit years prior.)

So, after cutting down all the dead trees, a new initiative was underway- planting new trees!  This time though, the city learned its lesson and planted either 5 or 7 different types of trees all over the city.  We were very excited to get our new tree at the curb. Unfortunately, I was not home when the tree was planted, and the company that was planting trees did not really pay much attention to where along the curb the tree was planted.  Instead of planting where the tree would be able to provide optimal shade, they planted it about 15 feet behind an existing tree that is in my front lawn.   Since my house faces west, my front yard gets blazing sun in the afternoon. One half of my yard ends up baking, and the other half ends up lush and green.   Had the tree been planted in a different spot, my whole yard would have been protected from the sun when the tree grew big enough.  It is funny because our city has negotiated lower water rates based on placing a limit on water consumption.  In theory, residents are not supposed to run their underground water sprinkler systems between 5:00 am and 11:00 pm.  Well, since it is not healthy for your lawn to be watered during during the night, the best option is to not have to water the grass at all.  Shading the lawn is a great solution to reduce water consumption, but apparently, the city decided to just slap in the trees instead of considering other factors.  Regardless though, I am happy to have my new tree.

Now it is time for you to catch up on some reading:

101 Centavos compares debt numbers between the United States and several other countries.  Will the U.S. be next in bankruptcy court?  Who knows, but I will say I am getting nervous, and have been for some time.

Barb Friedberg Personal Finance discusses different levels of growth an economy can experience. Do you think growth will pick up in the U.S.?  I sure hope it does, but I have no idea what to expect these days.

Bucksome Boomer turned 2 years old this week (I always assumed this blog was older than that!). Kay Lynn is sponsoring a huge giveaway, so make sure you stop by and enter to win some great prizes!

Budgeting in the Fun Stuff quit her job this week, but that is not what I am going to recommend reading since I already did that once this week.  Assuming you already read her post about quitting her job, you should now read about how she is doing with her year 2011 resolutions.  After reading the article, take some time to evaluate how you are doing on your resolutions so far this year. Maybe make some mid year resolutions too if you are feeling ambitious.

Financial Samurai evaluates where he is with his financial goals for 2011.  Oh how I would love to save 60 percent of our gross income!  Keep up the great work Sam.  (Also check out his mid year online goals update.)

First Gen American turned 1 this week.  Wishing a Happy Birthday to an absolutely fantastic blog and blogger!

Grumpy Rumblings of the Untenured also had their first birthday this week. This blog is full of thought provoking conversation, so check it out if you haven’t already.

Invest It Wisely gives examples of two families, each of which spent their money in different ways.  Living for today sure can be fun at the moment, but might not be so much fun tomorrow.  (I wonder if anyone has ever had a spending hangover?)

KrantCents writes what he thinks would be 15 cool jobs.  I have shared my coolest job before, but I will restate:  getting paid to drink cocoa in a cafe near the ocean.  Although his jobs are more real than that…

Len Penzo reiterates the importance of knowing where your money is coming from and where it is going.  I think I know where most of mine goes, to Thing 1, Thing 2 and Thing 3…

Money Reasons went to the Drive In, and had a great time.  It brought back memories of the times I went to the Drive In as a kid.  It was such a special event for us, and my childhood Drive In was torn down many, many years ago.  Glad I have the memories though.

Retire By 40 wants to know when we can stop saving money.  For me personally, I feel like I will never feel like I have enough money. I have seen health care costs deplete the savings of a few people, so I think I will always want to bring in more than I spend.

Saving Money Today sold his father-in-law’s house.  What a relief that must be!  In addition to reading that post, check out Mike’s new blog Money Matters Guy.  I love the tag line:  “Personal Finance in Plain English”.

Squirreler’s teaches us about energy efficiency credits for 2011. Got some money for home improvement? Think about making those improvements with the environment and tax savings in mind!

Wealth Informatics informs the masses that big banks actually do have programs to help those that need short term help with their credit card bills, called Debt Management Programs.  Thank you to Suba for sharing such great info, I am sure there are a lot of people that need the help but have no idea that these programs exist.

I hope everyone has a fantastic week and is enjoying summer.  I will now leave you with this tip:  If you live in an area where the Emerald Ash Borer is found, please do not transport firewood to other states.  This insect has killed so many trees, and it would be nice to keep the infestation as contained as possible.


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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

krantcents July 18, 2011 at 12:07 am

Thanks for the mention. I am in good company.


101 Centavos July 18, 2011 at 6:19 am

At least your city is planting trees, that’s a good initiative. When I look out my office window, I see two young dead trees that were recently planted to replace the other two dead trees that were also planted in the heat of summer, never watered properly, and consequently burned up like matchsticks.
Your post highlights one of the dangers of monoculture. From the pest’s point of view, it’s like considerate humans thoughtfully laid a banquet table.
Thanks for the mention, always appreciated.


Kris July 18, 2011 at 8:21 am

101- You are so right, our city was the perfect environment for the ash borer. Unfortunately, the pest has really spread too, I saw signs warning about transporting firewood south of Michigan when we were on vacation. I figured it could only be contained so long.

Our new tree is looking pretty sad too, even though it was planted last year. I am trying to guess which will cost more, my water bill or the electric (for A/C).


Nicole July 18, 2011 at 7:49 am

I hope our new trees survive the summer. Apparently our sprinkler water does bad stuff to the leaves.

Thanks for the link!


Kris July 18, 2011 at 8:16 am

Nicole, I much prefer rain over sprinkler water too. I just think all that chlorine and everything else in the water can’t be good for the lawn/trees. I guess you could buy some distilled water and use that on your trees? I also know that if you pour some of your treated water into a container and let it sit for 24 hours, some of the chemicals evaporate. You could using some ‘evaporated’ water on your poor trees too maybe?


Nicole July 18, 2011 at 3:37 pm

Well, the problem is the HOA wants the lawn green whether it rains or not. We have a large lawn. The sprinkler companies say our soil doesn’t do well with drip irrigation, so they won’t do it. So we’re stuck with regular sprinkler system unless we want to be out every night with hoses (we don’t). The water hits the leaves, and apparently that’s what causes the leaves to die.

DH spent quite a bit of time the other week changing our sprinklers around so they didn’t hit the trees, but it was probably too late for the new peach and our new willow is looking awfully sad.


Kris July 18, 2011 at 11:22 pm

Oh that is terrible! What would happen if your lawn went a little brown, would residents be storming your door? Or, is the HOA a little relaxed? (I think my HOA is asleep, possibly dead.)

Willow trees are my favorite too. I hope they both make it.


The Biz of Life July 18, 2011 at 8:00 am

Central planners rarely get the outcomes they desire, no matter how high their IQs.


Kris July 18, 2011 at 8:13 am

I guess hindsight is 20/20, but in the 70s, most of the Dutch Elm trees in our area were destroyed from Dutch Elm Disease. I have no idea why they went and planted all the same trees when people saw what can happen. I can’t imagine how much that mistake cost the city between buying the original trees, planting, cutting them down, and replanting.


Crystal @ BFS July 18, 2011 at 10:11 am

In our area, we better not get a pine tree disease or we’re screwed…

Thanks for the mention!


Kris July 18, 2011 at 10:35 am

When I was in California a few years ago, there was a terrible illness affecting the pine trees. This was up in the mountains though, and I can’t remember the name of it. We have a lot of pine trees here too.


Invest It Wisely July 18, 2011 at 10:12 am

Just sell off each street to the adjoining residents and let them decide. I doubt each street would do the exact same thing so you’d have a lot of diversity. 😉

Privatizing the water supply outright probably isn’t the best idea because of the huge chances for corruption and kickbacks, but long-term charging the full price for water usage makes more sense than rationing it does. It leads to better incentives and less waste of water.


Kris July 18, 2011 at 10:37 am

I am pretty happy with our water here. I love the taste, and I freak out when I go to some other states and taste their water. I just feel lucky we have so much water where I live, it is the one thing we have going for us!


Invest It Wisely July 18, 2011 at 7:39 pm

Me too! 🙂 Some places it tastes like sulfur…


MoneyCone July 18, 2011 at 10:22 am

Interesting story on water consumption and trees! A good example of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing!

A street lined with trees always looks nice! I’m glad they didn’t leave it barren after the first attempt.


Kris July 18, 2011 at 10:38 am

I am glad they replanted trees too. We had a huge ash tree in our backyard that we lost to the ash borer too. So, our backyard is completely shadeless.


Money Matters Guy July 18, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Thanks for the mention Kris. I really appreciate it!


First Gen American July 19, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Can you move the tree yourself? It might be worth it if you’re going to stick around long term.


Kris July 19, 2011 at 12:55 pm

I thought of that, but I am afraid I would kill it. 🙁


First Gen American July 19, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Yeah, it is a horrible time to be planting trees, let alone transplanting them. Who plants trees during a heat wave. Stupid.


Financial Samurai July 20, 2011 at 1:08 am

Hi Kris – It’s actually only 70% of my after tax income, but good enough I think!

I answered your question in one of my posts regarding my longer term goal I believe.



Kris July 20, 2011 at 9:01 am

Sam- I saw that response on your site. I figured it might have something to do with work! You are doing so great with your savings. My day will come, just not now I suppose.


Canvas Bags July 12, 2012 at 5:27 am

Hi, it’s the first time that I visit your website. Nice info, thanks!


Hilary August 6, 2013 at 4:41 pm

Thanks so much for sharing this! I have been actually trying to find out a little bit more about Dutch Elm disease in Minnesota… Any suggestions on where I can go for that?


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