Ash Tree Alert
I’ve written numerous columns about the inevitable Ash tree concerns with Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) and the destruction the insects will cause. This month, though, I’d like to turn attention to what seems to be occurring in the area regarding offers to remove potentially infected trees. I hesitate to label what I’ve heard to be a scam, but I will caution homeowners to be diligent in their inquiries regarding tree trimming and removal. Here is why.
Recently a dear personal friend had an unnerving encounter with a “tree service” individual. My friend is a senior citizen and what happened to her is a cautionary tale for all. Without solicitation a man knocked on her door and said he could take down her presently healthy Green Ash tree for a specified amount. She saw that a truck was parked in front of her house with another person in it but with no indication of a business marked anywhere on it.
My friend had actually inquired earlier of a reputable tree service about what seemed to be a split developing in the Ash tree so she was momentarily taken aback by this stranger’s arrival on the scene. When she hesitated to answer if she wanted him to take the tree down he began to inquire more. What really frightened her was when he asked if she lived alone. Thankfully, my friend had the presence of mind to say no more other than “no” to the repeated solicitation to remove the tree. The man finally retreated to the truck and they drove off, but not before causing my friend to now be even more vigilant about securing her home.
What is becoming clear is that our area may well see spurious tree removal services arrive once our Ash trees show decline and in need of removal. These services, like the out of state roofers who descended upon us after our hailstorm back in 1990s, will arrive looking to make a fast buck. Granted, many will be reputable tree removers, but many will not, so do your homework when the time comes. My best advice is to use an established, local tree service whose credentials you can easily check.
When you do decide upon a service, get in writing everything they will do for the specified amount. It’s one thing to remove the tree, but what about the stump? Will it be removed or ground down? Will all debris be cleaned up? Will extra charges for disposal suddenly appear on your bill? Know what you will receive for your estimate. Also, make sure the service is bonded and licensed and is an experienced tree removal company. Just because the business does landscaping (as I have), does not mean they can efficiently and safely take down a tree (I cannot)! Finally, there is no need for the tree service to ask inappropriate questions like they did of my friend. As soon as they do, tell them to leave.
It will be a sad time when our Ash trees begin to fail and for many long-time residents it will be a reminder of when Dutch Elm disease ravaged the Elms and wiped out over 95% of all Elm trees in the nation. The real take away from all this is to diversify tree plantings by using multiple species and planting native trees whenever possible. If you have only one or two Ash trees on your property, you can treat them at a reasonable cost either by using store purchased systemics containing Imidiclopid or by hiring an arborist to spray or inject your tree. In any case, plan ahead before EAB arrives in full force.
Update July 21st
Q: My father sold insurance during the 1950s, and I never saw him ever leave the house for work without wearing a crisp white shirt with French cuffs. Needless to say, I have several dozen sets of his cuff links from this period. Is there an expert I can contact so I can find out more about them? -- Millicent, Canton, Ohio
A: Eugene Klompus is a collector and expert. He buys, sells and appraises cuff links, and he is the author of the definitive guide about them, "Collectors Guide to Cuff Link Collecting." Contact is P.O. Box 5970, Vernon Hills, IL 60061; firstname.lastname@example.org; and www.justcufflinks.com. Check out his website at www.justcufflinks.com.
Q: My son was a comic-book collector, and he was especially interested in vintage publications from the 1940s and '50s. He died last year, and I have inherited his incredible collection, which has hundreds of rarities. I do not want to post them on eBay and wonder if you have another idea of how I can sell them. -- Betty, Walnut Cree, Calif.
A: Heritage Comics Auctions is one of the better solutions, with offices in several major American cities, including Heritage Comics, 445 Park Ave., New York, NY 10022, 212-486-3500; and Heritage Comics, 478 Jackson St., San Francisco, CA 94111, 800-872-6467. Check out the informative website at www.heritagecomics.com.
Although there are several price guides available, a personal favorite is The Official Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide by Robert M. Overstreet, published by House of Collectibles. It features up-to-date prices that I think accurately reflect the marketplace.
Q: I have collected older cameras for about 40 years and have reached the time in my life where I need to downsize and liquidate my various collections. How do you suggest I sell my cameras? -- Stan, Wheaton, Ill.
A: Camera Shopper is a national publication that helps consumers buy, sell and trade vintage and collectible cameras. The paper publishes 10 issues annually; classified ads are 20 cents per word with a paid subscription of $15. This might be a good way for you to sell your cameras. Contact is 123 Harbor Drive, Unit 310, Stamford, CT 06902; email@example.com; www.camera-shopper.com; and 203-322-8502