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Re: The cut pear

  • Subject: Re: [cg] The cut pear
  • From: "Sharon Gordon" gordonse@one.net
  • Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2005 15:19:05 -0500

In previous instances when gardens were threatened by bulldozers, many from
the list took action to prevent the distruction of the garden.  In a number
of instances this has very fortunately been successful.  When it has not
been successful 100s of people have pitched in to remove and relocate the
plants prior to the garden being destroyed.  And when gardens were bulldozed
without notification, there was a great outcry against it.

It seems to me that the gardener who lost their pear tree due to error on
the part of either the garden management or the fence should be compensated
the same as if a drunk driver drove off the road, crashed into the tree, and
destroyed it.

However there are a couple of extra problems here.  This is a hard to obtain
tree assuming that the tree name is slightly misspelled and it's really
Passe-Crassane pear.  If it's correctly spelled then the likelihood of
finding it is near zero.  This also means that you are unlikely to find a 10
year old tree nearby as part of a large stand of trees that the owner would
be willing to sell for love or money to move to the garden for a
replacement.  And even if you could it's difficult to move a tree that old.
And if you were going to, it needed to have been root pruned before it went
dormant this past fall.  On top of that, this is not an annual plant where
the problem could be mostly fixed within one year assuming a person had a
sufficient reserve of the heirloom seed.

Just for some benchmark amounts:
1) Some trees can be replaced easily for  $500 to $2500.
2) An older or landmark tree, can have an assigned value of $25,000 to
$60,000, based on size, species, condition and location
3) Environmentally speaking, trees have been valued at $193,250 in addition
to the value of their fruits, lumber, and aesthetic value.

So here is a list of what I can think of of what the gardener has lost:
1) Time spent acquiring a rare heirloom variety.
2) The rootstock, interstem, and scion (depending on how the tree was
formed). Any other pears that were grafted on to the tree.
3) Time spent grafting and waiting to see if graft would take.
3) Years of care and labor for the tree, feeding, mulching, pruning, etc.
4) The  next 10 years of pear production just to get back to the 2004 level.
Or more exactly the difference in yield between the two trees each year.
5) The years from 11 to whenever the second tree and the first tree
will/would be at maximum production.  Or more exactly the difference in
yield between the two trees each year.
6) Since a 10 year old tree could be producing 75-90 pounds of organic
heirloom pears or more(it would take some work to get an average yield per
year for all the relevant years for tree 1 and tree 2), the person would
have to either purchase them at organic heirloom prices assuming they could
be found, or go without.
7) The nutrition provided by the pears.
8) The health effects of eating the pears.
9) Being a source of scion wood for this rare heirloom variety.
10) Not being able to get other scion wood in swaps due to the lack of this
scion wood to offer in trade.
11) The shade the tree offered.
12) The vast number of permaculture effects of the tree including shade,
benefits provided by birds, food for wildlife, pollen for honey, local and
regional climate moderating effects, healthy place for the gardener, oxygen
provided by the tree, pollution filtering, deep soil mining, fertility and
tilth improvements, water recycling, etc.
13) The aesthetic value of the plot and the community garden.
14) Affect on real estate values of surrounding housing.  If I recall
correctly trees generally have a value of 1at least 5% of the housing.
15) The effect of the tree on community crime rates.
16) The loss of the lumber from a planned removal.  Even if the cut down
tree is still there, the ends would not have been properly sealed for proper
preservation of the wood.
17) The ability to help other community gardeners with this resource.
18) The loss of the value of the tree for the ecotourism of your community

Other things the person may have lost:
1) Access to their original source and possibly the original source.
2) Access to scions known to do well at that latitude or climate conditions.

With all that is involved in the loss, the request for $500 seems like a
bargain though it won't bring back the tree.

As for what to do about it, I'd first see if the fence company or the city
insurance would pay for the tree depending on where the error lies.  My
guess though is that it would be appraised for more than $500. So if it
would come under the city insurance, it might be cheaper to raise the money
to avoid having future insurance premiums raised.  Secondly I'd help find
and acquire another tree/some scions of that variety if the gardener would
like  the help for the legwork, or needs it if you wind up having to get
import permits from another country or a designated professional education
importer (university or extension scientist)  In the meanwhile, I would send
apologies and express sympathy for this major loss to a gardener.  And
probably you are already doing this---I'd work out a plan so that plants
aren't damaged during future construction or repairs.

One thing I would mention to avoid, particularly at this time.  And not that
I think you, Sally, would do this, but please explain this to the other
people involved who may not have your management skills.  There is a
tendency of some to try to get a person to minimize their loss by pointing
out that other people are currently experiencing worse situations. And there
is the tendency to try to  get a person to minimize their loss by pointing
out all the other ways they have it good or are privledged.  This is like
trying to convince people to be happy that some of their toes have been
amputated because someone else lost a leg or three limbs and not them, or
because their other leg/foot is perfectly fine.  It doesn't help how they
feel about the situation.  Generally they feel angrier and wierdly

For help in locating replacements, I'd agree with other posters that the
Seed Saver's Exchange and the NAFEX are good resources.  There is also an
international group headquartered in the Portland, Oregon, area which
specializes in the preservation of heirlooms and has scion exchanges.  It's
the Home Orchard Society.


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