Share This Page

Trees key vs. slides

The news story " McArdle Roadway fix could take a while " (Jan. 13 and TribLIVE.com) lacked answers. The landslides along this portion of McArdle, especially this most damaging slide, were in fact caused by cutting trees under the overlook during late summer 2010, just before the G-20 summit.

The trees growing there were thriving and holding the steep hillside in place for decades. Actually, the trees' living roots were holding the very shallow soil in place. So why did the hillside not slide in late 2010• Because the roots were still living and stabilizing the slope. Now the roots are dying or nearly dead. As roots decompose, water fills the voids. This further undermines the soil above.

The roots grew through the shallow soil and into cracks in the bedrock to "anchor" the soil and keep the hillside stable.

This destruction of nature's balance, no matter how minor (as compared to the Kilbuck Wal-Mart site catastrophe in 2006), should be a wake-up call to municipalities trying to work against nature, whether by building into or cutting trees off hillsides.

The "Band-Aid" that the city wants to use will never solve the problem. Only replanting the slope with deep-rooted trees will. That could cost tens of thousands of dollars and complete stabilization will take years, if not a decade.

Steep hillsides should not be disturbed, but held in place by the trees that God intended these slopes to be protected with.

George Honchar

The writer is a soil scientist with Agronomics Soil Consulting in Carnegie.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.