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story.lead_photo.caption NWA Democrat-Gazette/FLIP PUTTHOFF Property at the Blossom Way trailhead in Rogers is a dump site in late November for trees and branches picked up by city workers after the October tornado.

There's nothing like a tornado to spark an attitude adjustment about trees.

I'm seeing the forest around my shack-ri-la with a whole new outlook after the tornado roared its way across Benton County around midnight on Oct. 21. A cedar tree landed on the roof and another crashed down on the back deck. That's a tiny splinter compared to to jaw-dropping damage and hardship others have endured, much of it from toppled trees.

What's amazing is the size of some of the fallen trees, mainly stately oaks. No telling how old some of them are, or were, before wind ripped them from the ground. Looking at the root balls, it's easy to see that tree roots in our neck of the woods don't run very deep.

The silver lining is, if you want firewood, you've got firewood. Or maybe some timber to sell to a sawmill.

Hats off to the tree guys who worked artful magic with their chain saws and ropes to get that tree off my roof without smashing my deck to smithereens or worse.

There's another tree close to the house that I never paid much mind to, until the twister adjusted my attitude. I'd have never touched that tree, but after the big blow I had the guys take it down as prevention.

One theory batted around my neighborhood is that the soggy ground from above normal rainfall contributed to so many trees, true titans of timber, coming down. That and the fact that most still had leaves.

The tornado spun my tree outlook around all right, but it's not the first adjustment.

Years ago, a fine walnut tree shaded a big portion of my yard. Over time it developed a lean toward my shack. A neighbor whose wisdom I respect in the realm of home ownership hinted it'd be a good idea to take it down. "No way," I said, then sadly heeded his advice. I loved that graceful walnut.

A pro came out and laid that tree on the ground. I took it from there and sawed the branches and trunk into a winter's worth of firewood. Good thing. The tree was hollow and might have fallen if I'd sneezed on it hard. When the next nasty storm came 'a blowing, I was glad the walnut was a neat stack of split cord wood.

I'm still a card carrying tree hugger, but now hopefully one with more forest sense. Back in the day, I thought it was a crime to cut down any tree. Even the thorny honey-locust tree in the yard went unharmed. Then came the day one of its sharp, black thorns ran through the bottom of my foot. Still, it didn't convince me to get rid of that tree.

Later I came to learn that taking out some trees is a good thing. Some thinning can create a more healthy forest. And today my yard is thorn free. That big honey-locust is gone.

Here's hoping anyone else with a change in tree attitude gets it from something harmless, like too many leaves in the yard.

Flip Putthoff can be reached at [email protected]

Sports on 12/03/2019

Print Headline: Storm spins tree outlook around

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