DEAR JOAN: l have two large, healthy redwood trees in my backyard, planted in 1996. I’ve lived here since way before they were planted and have always had the usual complement of critters in the yard: song birds, an occasional small hawk or falcon, raccoons, possums and an occasional cat.
In the last month or so, I’ve started finding the tips of branches from the redwood trees — maybe 6 to 10 inches long — on the ground, near the trunks. Today, there were probably a dozen or more.
The branches are very green and supple and cannot be snapped off. I’m doing nothing differently than l ever have. What is biting them off and dropping them on the ground? I’ve never seen this before at all.
Linda Michener, Santa Clara
DEAR LINDA: It could be a few animals that are responsible for the unapproved pruning of your redwoods, but I suspect it is tree squirrels.
Squirrels and other rodents often will chew on tree tips and branches to get water and as a way of keeping their teeth from growing too long. If they don’t gnaw on things, their teeth will reach an unmanageable length.
The pruning isn’t harming your trees, but you should keep an eye on them. Squirrels also will strip bark from the trees to line their nests, exposing the cambium that lies beneath. Removal of the bark can damage the tree.
DEAR JOAN: I am hoping you will be able to spread the word about a woman I met a couple of weeks ago. I was in Lowe’s parking lot around 7 p.m. on a Sunday night, going to my car when a woman approached me and asked if I could give her a jump.
Her car was full of stuff so after I jumped her, I asked if she was OK. Turns out her name is Jean, she is 74 years old and has been living in her car for the last seven months. When I asked if she had any pets, she showed me her little Maltese, Zoe, in the car. I told her I would do what I could to help her.
I had $20 cash on me and handed it to her, but she wouldn’t take it until I made her. I couldn’t see going home and wondering if that woman and her dog would be hungry that night. I found someone to set up a Go Fund Me account for her and so far the response has been great. I also posted her on my Nextdoor.com site and someone paid for her to stay in a hotel and others are chipping in.
What we want is for her to get an affordable place to live with Zoe. Not very easy, but with the help of very generous people it will be possible. If you can publish this that would be great, but if you can’t, I understand.
Felicia, Bay Area
DEAR FELICIA: Jean’s story about being forced out of her home and being unable to afford the expenses associated with getting into another place, is a compelling one, and, sadly, I’m afraid there are many more Jeans out there.
We can’t help them all, but we can help Jean and give her and Zoe a chance at a better life. If you’ve got a few dollars you can spare to help, please considering donating.
Who’s responsible for secretly pruning my redwood trees?