Birmingham() - Participants in Tuesday's tree summit at Birmingham Southern College all agreed on one thing: more discussion is needed. The summit, organized by Scenic Alabama
, was a forum for opinions about the Alabama Department of Transportation plan to cut down trees in highway medians. According to ALDOT, the trees pose a threat to motorists who wander off the road. Trees with trunks greater than 4 inches in diameter can cause major problems for vehicles that find themselves in the median.
To improve the efficiency of tree removal, a new Bush Hog model called the Super-Axe-Hacker was designed especially for ALDOT by the Onceler Coporation. The gigantic machine is capable of removing 7,000 trees per minute. Conveyor belts feed the tree refuse into a mobile processing center that converts the mass into playground furniture. "Medians simply aren't meant for driving...or trees," said ALDOT spokesman Tony Harris. Unfortunately, the trees do prevent some serious accidents by keeping cars from crossing the median into oncoming traffic. "We have a solution for that too," said Harris. "Just wait till you see it."
One potential hurdle for ALDOT is the discovery of a rare variety of Bradford pear tree in the Vestavia median. This particular variety seems only to grow in Vestavia Hills and the Holy Land. "Rainclouds stack up against Shades Mountain picking up sulfur from the Jones Valley air, and then drop all of their precipitation over a small area as they drift into the Hoover basin," explains Gerald Finn of the Sierra Club. "This unique micro-climate gives rise to the bradford-hestia-pear." The tree's uniqueness stems from the fact that it sometimes bears edible fruit.
"For safety's sake, the trees have to go," said Harris. "I can't think of a way to save them unless..." his statement was cut short by a salesman hawking median-tree products. Harris then reiterated ALDOT's concerns over motorist safety. When asked if the annual Boy Scout Christmas Tree sale would still be allowed, Harris replied "Those trees are already cut down aren't they?"