‘It points to a much bigger problem’

When properly processed, waste from tree removal companies can be an incredible source of mulch and fertilizer for homeowners and gardeners. Companies like ChipDrop even offer free deliveries of this wonderful material.

However, when this type of wood and garden waste is not properly handled, it can be a major problem for neighbors, as one Redditor revealed to the internet and the press.

What happened?

Five years ago, the National Tree Service company purchased a property in Irondale, Alabama. A local resident started posting several photos in the complaint subreddit r/Wellthatsucks.

"My trees are dying.  They all die, fall or are dead!"
Photo credit: Reddit
"My trees are dying.  They all die, fall or are dead!"
Photo credit: Reddit

“The Tree Company bought land across from us and created a dump for thousands of dead, diseased trees,” he said. “This hill used to be all trees full of wildlife. We saw foxes, coyotes and (and) so many birds! Now it’s destroyed. … They keep dumping every day.”

Commentators were outraged. “It may be a small local issue, but it points to a much bigger problem,” said one user. “We only have one planet.”

Why does it matter if the National Tree Service dumps trees?

The story was picked up by WBRC, which got more details from Irondale resident Keith Dalton about his concerns.

“My trees are dying,” he told the station. “They’re all dying or falling or dead! … It even says on their website, ‘If you have sick trees, cut them down because the disease is spreading,’ but you can dump them there and not worry about my illness.

He was also frustrated by the pests coming from the site. “If you notice huge rats coming from everywhere, mosquitoes taking over, all kinds of insects. That’s kind of gross, you know?’ he said.

Dalton also worried that the site’s runoff could contain unknown pesticides, and that the piles of decomposing plant material could be a fire hazard.

What is the National Tree Service doing about this problem?

According to the National Tree Service’s statement to WBRC: “We are vigilant in monitoring our grounds to prevent problems such as fires, pests and any negative impacts on local foliage and wildlife. Our grounds management practices are designed to minimize any adverse effects on the adjacent areas to a minimum.”

However, it did not provide details on the steps it was taking to contain disease, pests, runoff or fire. Photos and video show the site is an open-air site on a hill, with no visible barriers between the site and the surrounding forest.

What can I do to prevent irresponsible waste management?

In an update to the original Reddit post, the original poster said: “Twelve states have banned these types of sites and four states have banned them with an exception for sites with a methane gas collection system.” Voting for a more responsible, environmentally friendly policy makes a huge difference.

You can also support reputable companies like ChipDrop, who provide waste management for tree farms and fertilizer for homeowners in one.

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