Is there a special tree that brings a pleasurable moment to your life…and I don’t mean cutting it down. Our personal perspectives about trees are so diversified. Trees are good! Click link for a great site that presents more tree benefits.

A photo within my archive of fond memories. Dead snags can really provide some beautiful images.

But what about dead trees?

A first reaction to a dead tree would call for its removal. But pause and assess the situation before making a hasty decision that could turn beneficial. Dead trees can be fire prone, dangerous, and unsightly. Yet, they can also be architecturally inspiring, provide interesting habitat, and return carbon to the earth.

There is one tree that I find intriguing…and so do my hound dogs on our daily walk. A large dead eucalyptus tree that stands along the road and down a slope, where outreaching dead, woody limbs, protrude into the sky. Flocks of crows frequently assemble in what appears to be a communal meeting.

One dead euc with flock of crows…ok, a minimal flock. They are not very cooperative with family portraits and only a few bold ones remain. But, it was really cool when a few dozen of them were perched throughout the dead canopy. photo courtesy of Bill Zeldis Photography-


Arboriculturally speaking, eucalyptus wood is quite dense, which also makes it a slow burning, and hot firewood. After trees die, wood decomposes.  Wood density affects the rate of decomposition.  Dense eucalyptus wood degrades more slowly than many other species.  Thus, high density eucalyptus limbs and roots can keep a tree standing long after it dies (barring root rot and other detrimental conditions).

I fondly remember another dead eucalyptus I first observed in 1977 along the southern entrance to the San Marcos pass. [non-locals click link]  During my inaugural year in the tree biz, I scoped out the potential job of removing that tree.  It overshadowed several small young Oak and California Pepper trees.  Fast-forward 35 years, September 2012: The dead euc still stands, enveloped by large mature Oak and California Pepper trees.

I can’t believe that most of this dead tree is still standing over 30 years. I wish I had the photo from 1979.

Back to crows: they are known to be intelligent creatures yet really annoying.  Would our ecological system be impacted by the loss of these big, noisy birds?  That’s food for thought. But crows perched on dead trees are cool!  They offer an interesting perspective to a day in the life of a dog walk.

I’m glad this dead euc is still around.  It may soon disappear.  Until then, We (Josie, Lily, and myself), will enjoy it. How do I know? I asked them.

What is your favorite tree and where?  Let me know.

Josie, Lily, and me with the dead euc behind us.


How can I help you with your trees?

Treemendously yours,

Bill Spiewak


This creature prefers to live in live trees.
This wild creature prefers live trees over dead trees.


  1. Your comments regarding crows reminded me of one of my favorite fall sights and a favorite tree…

    I believe it’s on a side street near La Superica taco stand off Milpas. It was around this time of year, or closer to Halloween, and a flock of crows (a murder of crows!) were sitting in a deciduous persimmon tree. The tree was loaded with orange fruit, no leaves and the black crows in the dusk made this the most beautiful Halloween picture. So wished I had a camera but carry that picture in my mind’s eye.

    Close runner up…as a kid in Ohio we use to “ride” young maple saplings. Shimmy up the narrow trunk until it’s too small to hold you, then ride it down to the ground as it bends. You have to hop off quick or you get a spanking as it snaps back upright!

    So there you have it. Kf

    1. Kathy,
      Thanks for sharing trees that point out interesting observations and fond memories. I remember a tree worker on one of my old jobs that climbed a large eucalyptus waterspout in a clients back yard and rode it back down to the ground. Fortunately, he didn’t get hurt and we all had a good laugh. Of course that was a good lesson.

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