Posts Tagged ‘Alameda’

This morning, Oaxaca began mourning the loss of two of the Zócalo’s iconic and beloved Indian laurels. In less than 48 hours, two of these massive trees, planted between 1875 and 1885, had fallen. Unfortunately, in their untimely demise, they join several other Indian laurels shading the Zócalo and Alameda that have crashed to the ground in the past ten years.

Yellow caution tape at the entrance to the Alameda

The concern is there will be more — thus, today these public spaces have been closed to the public with yellow caution tape and police barring the entrances.

Standing water at the base of an Indian laurel tree on the Alameda.

Ostensibly, the high winds and torrential rain Oaxaca is currently experiencing caused the trees to topple. However, our stormy weather these days is only the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Tending to the hole left by the Indian laurel that fell on Sept. 15, 2020 at the southwest corner of the Zócalo.

Several years ago, as we walked through the Zócalo and Alameda, I remember listening intently as the late artist and tree historian/savior Francisco Verástegui passionately described the indignities these trees had suffered, including disruption to their root systems when, in 2005, a governor attempted to remodel the Zócalo.

Status update at the northwest corner of the Zócalo.

Thankfully, a protest movement stopped that plan, but damage had already been done. What followed, among other things, was improper pruning, inadequate irrigation, faulty drainage, and the use of unsterilized mulch leading to the growth of fungus and causing the roots to rot — all of which contributed to the trees tumbling down.

Indian laurel that fell the evening of Sept. 17, 2020 on the southeast corner of the Zócalo.

And, it’s not only the trees in the Alameda and Zócalo. The director of the civil association Oaxaca Fértil estimates that 90% of the trees in the municipality of Oaxaca have been neglected, are diseased, and run the risk of collapsing. Let us hope that more of the historic trees that contribute to the beauty of Oaxaca can be saved and cared for in the way they deserve.

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Instead of the coming of age novel, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, we have the real life drama of a tree falls in Oaxaca.  Heading down to the mercado this morning, I was brought up short by this heartbreaking sight.

Large trunk of tree uprooted from ground.

According to reports, there were many present to hear and see one of the grand 130+ year old Indian laurels topple during a storm on Saturday night.  And, worst of all, ten people were injured, two seriously.  Trees in the city, including Indian laurels in the Zócalo, have been plagued by adversity.  A laurel in the Zócalo fell a few years ago, damaging a nearby building, and most recently in May 2011, I wrote about a laurel on the Alameda that toppled.  Resurrection was attempted and guy-wires remain to this day holding it upright.  I guess the experts decided this latest one was beyond rescue.

Large tree cut into pieces

Controversy reigns, as many assert that these trees should be able to withstand the rain and less-than gale force winds.  Thus speculation over the cause runs rampant.  Root rot appears to be the immediate culprit but the big question is, why?

Pile of massive wood logs

And, as Chris sadly noted a couple of months ago, regarding the diseased flamboyant trees in front of Santo Domingo de Guzmán, Any tree is hard to replace.

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