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"Trees, vines, and signs"

"We can see the theater marquee now: Creepers From the Black Lagoon, perhaps, or The Vine That Ate Winslow.Indeed, our dreams have lately been haunted by the sinister English ivy, truly the stuff of campy '50s sci-fi. Ever since we took the shears to the noxious weed in our neighborhood a few weeks back, saving three trees from its fiendish clutches, hedera helix preys on our hapless mind; suddenly aware of its threat, we find the devilish vine lurking in every hollow and shadow.Removal of the invasive weed - which can throttle and bring down native trees, harm understory plants and destroy habitat for birds - was the subject of this year's Earth Day effort back in April.We can only conclude that whatever valiant efforts were undertaken by islanders, they weren't enough, as a casual stroll through Winslow last week showed.Whole trees in the picturesque ravine south of Winslow Way have been swallowed up by the sinister creepers (go look for yourself); so, too, a stand in a vacant lot at Winslow Way and Wood Avenue. A nice poplar on Madison Avenue, kitty-corner from city hall, is in danger, as are a number of otherwise majestic and healthy-looking trees along Wyatt Way between Madison and Grow. Heaven knows where else.Ivy removal is fairly easy (and as we've found, quite cathartic): just cut out a 2-3-foot-long section of each vine near the base of the tree, then come back in six months to yank down the dried tendrils.And not one to spew rhetoric without at least a pretense of action, the editor of this newspaper has assembled a small band of like-minded neighbors, who can be seen over the coming weekends battling the ivy blight at Blakely Harbor Park and several other south-end parcels. There is no particular timeliness to these comments; as we said, having rescued some trees in our own neighborhood recently, we now see the dreaded vines everywhere and have become rather obsessed. Still, anyone willing to brave the out-of-doors as winter nears might look around their own neighborhood, and cultivate a environmentally healthy obsession of their own.The trees will thank you for it.* * * * *Other random thoughts on a Tuesday morning: Garbage pickup: Can't say we miss the clutter of campaign signs along local roadsides, most of them swept away in a crackdown by the city code enforcement officer.But we wonder: Is there really a voter out there whose choices this week were influenced by the signs they saw while driving down the highway? Mightn't you think about subscribing to a news magazine or watching a televised debate instead? Trees, Part 2: Nice autumn, huh? Who would have guessed that one of the prettiest spots on the island for watching trees turn color would be...the Village parking lot.True enough, and unanimity was reached on that point last week, in discussion during a trip to a local nursery (to purchase trees, of course). Several rows of what we believe to be maples have spent the past few weeks hued a brilliant red, setting the otherwise drab Safeway parking area on fire. Whoever had the foresight to select those trees a decade ago, you really made your mark this fall. "

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