I never knew the billboard industry was so cutthroat. But I read an eye-opening article on MSN yesterday, "A crime by the highway: Poisoning trees to make billboards easier to see," and it, well, opened my eyes to the underbelly of billboard advertising.
To sum up, tall plant growth can block motorists' views of the advertisements, so billboard companies often obtain permits to trim or even remove the trees surrounding their signs. Logical. But permits cost money, and then they have to pay a landscaping professional to properly dispose of the trees, and sometimes they would like to cut down a larger area of trees than the permit allows. Wouldn't it be convenient—and cheaper—if the trees, oh, just happened to die? And you know, a can of strong herbicide in the hands of one of their own employees would cost a lot less than hiring a landscaper...
So some companies have been illegally poisoning the trees to clear the line of sight to their roadside advertisement. The article focuses on one employee who refused to continue these despicable duties (only in his job description unofficially, of course) and was fired.
I understand that the clearing of some woodland is a necessary part of civilization, but the preservation of forests is essential to keeping our atmosphere suitable for human life. And, we all know that spraying toxic chemicals all over the place is never a good idea.
Plus, trees are nice to look at, which brings me to Arbor Day. That's today. The perfect day to offset the illegal removal of our precious natural air filters by planting one of your own. You don't even need a yard; small citrus trees can grow in pots in a sunny room of your home.
If you don't have the space or the means to plant a tree, then I say to you, take a hike! Really. Go outside and walk through the woods and enjoy some trees today.