With the advent of the mid-Atlantic phase of hurricane season, it was time this week to remove a couple of the more worrisome trees in my yard. We don't live at the coast, but hurricanes such as Floyd, Fran, and Bertha have run through my neck of the woods while still very powerful.
I'll miss the elm, but it's been dying for some time, and I will replace it. I will not miss the box elder tree. And for good reason.
The box elder is a deciduous North American tree which provides good shade. In that it is unremarkable. The tree is remarkable in that its fruit are the preferred food of a most noxious parasitic insect, also known as the box elder, or to the vulgar, the "stink bug."
Even now, hundreds of box elder bugs are flying around in my yard, seeking food. These insects tend, in the fall, to remove themselves from the tree and to clamber onto the sides of houses (for the warmth), swarming like a biblical plague from a bad 70s drive-in movie whose premise is that Satan is alive and well, and running for senate. The box elder bugs are fragile, and seem to smash themselves at will, leaving nasty stains everywhere.
Although it was still green and leafy, my suspicion that this box elder was an insurance claim waiting to happen proved correct, as evidenced by its hollowness. I will not miss the tree. I will not miss the bugs once they get around to starving. I'm sorry box elder, but I'm replacing you with a pecan tree.