I write in response to Chris Walton’s commentary about the vanishing tree canopy in Edmonds, which is changing the face of our community.
In no way do I want to be seen as defending developers who scalp property of all vegetation, replace one house with five huge ones and sell off the top soil, leaving nothing but sand behind. But there are a couple other factors here that should be acknowledged.
The building codes allow houses to be built within 5 feet of the lot line and this has much to do with why they take down all the trees off a property to be developed. It is true it is a convenience for the construction crew but that 10 feet of space between houses is likely too narrow for that mature tree to survive. Consider the roots of these huge trees and the fact that they spread out even further than the branches. Those roots will be severely damaged by the digging necessary for the foundations and utilities and causing those trees to die. And with the house covering a huge percentage of the square footage of that lot, there will be much less water making its way to the roots of those big trees. A mature Douglas fir sucks up hundreds of gallons of water each day which it will no longer get, making the death of that tree inevitable.
It might be better to encourage these new homeowners to include smaller trees and shrubs in their landscape, especially those which are better suited to survival in our changing climate. Or, if we really want to make a better environment for tree survival, how about allowing fewer houses on a piece of property and making room for more green spaces?