How dangerous are trees?

On Europe’s most romantic boulevard in Târgu Mureș, Romania, these signs were nailed to the trees a few months ago:

warning nailed to tree

“ATTENTION!” the signs scream out in two languages, (mis?)informing the public that these are “sick trees undergoing treatment”. People are warned of “standing around, parking or sitting on benches,” as if the trees were toxic or dangerous.

Given the municipality’s history of chopping off any tree that they can get hold of – and yesterday they began on Bulevardul Cetăţii itself – it is obvious that these signs are not intended as a warning, but to skew public opinion. If these trees were really as dangerous as the signs imply, the boulevard would be cordoned off. It isn’t and of course people still sit, walk, run, eat and park there.

I have noticed in discussions that some people unfortunately fall for this scaremongering. They really believe that these trees are dangerous.

Yet, if you look at them – and if you are in Târgu Mureș, I suggest you go there for a lovely stroll – you will see the trees standing there peacefully, providing shade and fresh air, not looking sick or old and not threatening or harming anyone. These are not even particularly tall or heavy trees, they are hardly taller than lampposts.

sign on lamppost

Again and again I hear “But what if a tree falls over and kills a child?” – But trees don’t simply fall over from one minute to the next (for those who missed biology in school: they have roots in the ground). People actually fall over far more often by themselves (Palincă!), without the help of any tree.

And what do you suggest if you are actually afraid of falling trees? Killing all the trees in the city? In the whole country? Or globally? No, coincidentally, the trees are only “dangerous” in the area where someone wants to build a house or a parking space.

Also, even the “trees are dangerous” folks only argue that trees are dangerous in a severe storm. Târgu Mureș is not really in a tornado area, so this doesn’t seem to be a regular problem. And there is a simple solution to it: When there is a tornado or a hurricane, don’t go outside! In fact, if there ever will be a tornado, there are more dangerous things that will fly around, yet nobody proposes to dismantle and remove all street signs, advertisement boards, newspaper kiosks and tables and chairs outside of cafés. Why only the trees, the only objects which are firmly rooted in the ground?

The discussion becomes particularly absurd when tree-phobics argue that falling trees could harm cars. I wouldn’t have thought that I need to point this out, but of the two – trees and cars – the latter is no the living being. Cars don’t feel pain. If they are dented, they can be repaired. If a tree is cut, it’s dead. And if you are so terribly afraid of a daily tornado, park your car somewhere else. Or take the bus. – By the way, between trees and cars, guess which of them kill more people in Târgu Mureș every year?

In reality, the trees shouldn’t carry warning signs around their neck – we should.

But for the municipality, it’s quite convenient to divert attention from the real health risks in town, from those which actually kill people and make their lives miserable. It’s sad that some people fall for this plot.

"Don't look at me! The trees are your real problem."

“Don’t look at me! The trees are your real problem.”

About Andreas Moser

Travelling the world and writing about it. I have degrees in law and philosophy, but I'd much rather be a journalist, a spy or a hobo.
This entry was posted in Environment, Politics, Romania and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to How dangerous are trees?

  1. Într-adevăr, copacii respectivi par blonavi rău și suferă de înverzire cronică.

  2. Alina M says:

    In the first picture the tree bark is damaged. If the trees are under treatment against fungus or insects I suggest you don’t spend much time in the area because usually pesticides are not good for peoples’ health. Perfectly looking trees on the outside are hollow on the inside because of the xylophagous species so don’t be paranoid about it.

  3. Balazs Krisztina says:

    It is so sad to see that most of the people in this town are so purely informed about their rights! So very sad to see that people who are paid to help us live a better, healthier life are grandiously missinforming citizens, just because they have the power to do it! But mostly it is sad that people believe them! It seems we are like some creatures that don’t think or feel just go on with whatever they are told to! These trees are NOT sick, do NOT represent any threat to human !!! They are what we BREATH !!!!! I know in the world we live in, media (good or bad) is controlling us, but proper information is just near us, we only have to reach out and want to find out, about anything we want! Sometimes It is very hard to make an opinion about a topic, when the media is full of missinformation, but i think we have to believe what we see !!! And what i saw is my 2-year-old feeling sorry for the tree she liked to hug was killed! Im no hippy, if you think i am, im yes trying to educate my child to feel close to nature, but people are born being in love with nature, just that modern society sometimes makes them understand otherwise! And what is see is how lovers of all age every day every minute sit on the bench just like i did, what i see are children looking for birds on the bird house … What i see that this boulevard is our history, our mini paradise in town, and hopefully the future of our children! I am ashamed for all my neighbours who warent disturbed yesterday by the sound of the chainsaw and feel proud of the media that came, and feel prouder for the few people that came by! All the authorisations are ready for the future cuttings, and the meeting tomorow cancelled! Dear citizens, the wake up call was yesterday, tomorow is too late!

    • Very well said!!

    • I also agree with you on the effect of nature on the human being. It’s always amazing when I can convince a friend to go for a walk in the forest with me. They are so surprised by how colorful and quiet and relaxing it is and how much physical and emotional energy they can get from it.
      And here in Targu Mures, it’s so easy. Just to the left of UMF for example, there is the path marked with “Scufița Roșie”. It leads into a beautiful forest, so close to town that everyone will find the time for a short stroll.

  4. brokenradius says:

    A month ago, an evil tree attempted to kill me !!! (No joke). Have a look here http://persian-cat.de/?p=4057
    I like trees a lot, but they should stay where they belong to: In their fucking forests. They should not come in me garden and try to kill me, or me will attack them with a chain-saw !!

  5. brokenradius says:

    For all these paper print-outs, even more trees would have to be sacrificed !

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