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The Tree police


By gattina


In our garden, some 30 years ago, our predecessors planted a hedge to divide the vegetable garden from the driveway and to make an avenue as you approached the house. They imported 40 little 18" plants from the UK, and boy, did they do well – they were Leylandii. Well, they grew and grew, and by the time we took over the garden, six years ago, they must have been about 30’ tall, and effectively shading and leaching the goodness out of the soil in the vegetable plot so much that not much else grew there. The “Avenue” even showed up quite well on Google Earth. This year, after lots of nagging from me, my husband tried felling part of one of the trees, now nearer 40’ high, and managed to land it on top of my favourite pear tree. I lost patience and asked our local Mr Fixit – Vittorio – if he would consider helping us and how much he would charge. “How much do you want to pay?” was the response. We haggled a bit, and I expected him to come back some time later for our decision. He was back within 15 minutes with 2 “helpers”, a load of chains, a huge tractor and a chainsaw the size of Belgium. One row of trees was felled within an hour, the trunks trimmed and dragged into the adjoining field and chopped up for firewood. While he was about it, Vittorino commented on our little new English apple tree orchard, struggling to establish itself in a new climate. “It should have been pruned in the autumn” he said, and before I could stop him, marched off and took the tops off every tree with his chainsaw. No rubbish about “fruit bearing side shoots” or “cut above a node with a very sharp pruning knife” This was March. We got wonderful crops off nearly all of them, considering how new they were.
Later that month, like a good citizen, I went to visit the Corpo Forestale (forestry commission) at the town hall to ask permission to burn all the twiggy bits, and got a rather fierce grilling. "How many trees did you cut down? How tall were they? What kind of tree? Have you got written permission? WHY did you cut them down? My confusion and horror must have shown, and they couldn’t understand my protestations that this was really just a massive decorative hedge that had got a bit above itself. Eventually I gave up and held my wrists out for the handcuffs, bleating “I’m not usually this much of a criminal.” They relented, we all had a good laugh and they explained that in future……. Then we all went for a coffee and I shamelessly did my best to reinforce their conception of “Stupid foreigners” who are allowed to get away with minor infringements in the name of public entertainment.
I’m going back to see them tomorrow. In August it is strictly forbidden to light bonfires of any sort (fines of €3,000 and more), but now we’re into September, and it rained for the first time since June yesterday, I thought we might get rid of all the bags full of weeds, and woody clippings, and couch grass roots we’ve collected over Summer. Should be a big blaze, and we know that at the first sign of smoke, a helicopter will be hovering overhead within minutes. I want to be able to look up and wave my “permesso” at them. When in Rome…….
Aren’t you glad you don’t have all this sort of c*** to put up with in the UK?

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Wish we did sometimes. On friday afternoon during a respite from the rain I was able to sit in the garden with my grand daughters..not for long a neighbour further down lit a bonfire with lost of damp stuff on it and smoke the whole of the upper lane out. We were forced to sit indoors.

19 Sep, 2011


What problems you have, Gattina! We never seem to come across any kind of problems like that - in fact just the opposite. Recently there were men working on cutting down trees on the hillsides that were under power lines. They piled them neatly to one side, informed local villages, and we all collected trunks and branches and started our winter wood stores. Every 4/5 years a group of council workers comes along to open up the various tracks across the mountains - once again, they don't want the trees that are removed, so our wood stores get replenished again. Sounds like your region could do with a hefty dose of common sense? ;o)

20 Sep, 2011


we dont have it like that, the planning departments are a pain though, it was humourous to read but not I bet to go through, I would have done the same but probably cried out of nerves as well.

28 Sep, 2011

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