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Trees: Love 'em, Hate 'em

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TBUTLER

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I've been up on the roof washing and cleaning for the last few days. The experience brings to the fore one of the conflicts that plagues me. At heart, I'm a big advocate of trees. They are essential to our existence. Trees are beautiful and useful. Trees are also a nuisance.

On the good side, trees provide shade and keep our motor home cool. We're in San Andreas, California, and the forecast for the next two days are temperatures in the 100s, so I'll really appreciate the trees around us. I have many favorite memories of trees, but one of the best was in 2003 in northern California, riding my bicycle on the Redwood Highway. To ride along through a forest of these giants was inspiring. It was early morning, there was little traffic, so most of the time it was me and the trees. I've stood in awe looking up at limbs on a Sequoia that are the size of other large trees. Trees anchor the riverbanks on streams I've canoed. Trees and other plants made coal that provides much of our electricity. So what could possibly be wrong with trees?

A year ago we were parked under the tree from h*ll. It was early spring and the leaves were popping out. With each leaf came a few fragments of the bud packing a very sticky sap. They covered the ground, stuck to our shoes and showed up on the carpet in the motor home. Unfortunately, they also fell on the toad and on the roof of the motor home. A year later, I'm still trying to get the sap off the roof. There are a few spots that won't come off. Fortunately, a year of sunshine had dried most of the sap and it's chipping off a little at a time. I know that the trees contributed only a small amount of the dirt on the roof, but still, I hate to park under trees.

We stayed at a park in Golden, Colorado, recently. It was a park without trees. I really enjoyed the stay. The sites were side-by-side sites with about 6 feet between us and the neighboring RVs. We had large 5th wheels on either side, so they provided good shade for the morning and afternoon sun. It was life without trees and I enjoyed not worrying about what was dropping on the motor home. One afternoon I helped my brother-in-law clean the leaves and maple seeds out of his gutters.

At our current park, we cut tree branches to get into our site without scraping the paint off the motor home. Once in place we carefully located so we could put our slides out without having branches in contact with the sides and roof of the motor home. Today on the roof, removing dirt and sap, I'm ducking branches. There are two large oak trees to our west that give us some great shade in the late afternoon. We didn't park under them because we listened to the acorns dropping on the roof of RVs in those spaces last year. Tomorrow I'll tackle the air conditioners. I need to blow the leaves out of the cooling fins.

I love trees.

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We too have this struggle, love trees, hate trees. Today we spent one hour trying to fit into a site to get the right location alignment with the sewer. We had to circle the park three times and each time we scraped tree branches on the top side of the Rig and bushes scraped the bottom. We were about ready to just pull out of the park, but it was late. After we finished, we asked each other "What is the purpose of having over grown trees & bushes?" We know some people like the "natural" setting while they camp and I can appreciate that. A natural setting when it is maintained is much better. However, I can't decide if park owners are neglecting their camp maintenance (by allowing the trees to become over grown) or if the park owners think it's more natural and appealing to campers?? What do you think?

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I love trees as well and yes they do look great when you are camped in them, but you are also correct, the sap , pine needles etc; make a mess and the needles get into every nook and granny and really are a pain in the butt to get out of area's. The sap is really a big pain, think I'll try waxing the roof with floor wax and see if that helps. <_<

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Marci,

I am sure that many campground owners want their campgrounds to be shady camps much like state and national parks that are managed primarily for the wild conditions. Our winter park was managed for several years by a man who used to say this is an RV park, not a tree park. He was never hesitant to lop off a branch here or a limb there. After being there a while he would just say if a branch is getting in the way, you can cut it off. That is still the policy at that park. We have plenty of trees but everyone can trim the trees on their site to their needs and desires. As a transient, we can't do that unless the owners allow it. I do stop and go to the office when I have trees that are a problem. I've had places find us a different site rather than cutting tree branches. In other places, someone will be sent out to cut off the offending branches. If we all notify the campground management or owners when we have problems with vegetation, perhaps we could keep the trees under control. The only good tree is a trimmed tree!

Now there is one caveat to the above. I often forget that our full time lifestyle isn't the norm for everyone. Our motor home has ample air conditioning and since it is our house, we don't hesitate to use it any more than you would when you are in your own home. We also have awnings on all our large windows and a power awning that we can use even if it doesn't extend fully. We have sun screens for every window on our motor home. So we are equipped to handle the sun and heat. Not everyone is so well equipped for the heat and sun and for them, trees are an essential part of summer camping. This would have to be a consideration of park owners when it comes to providing shade in their campgrounds.

Warden,

I feel your pain! I wish I knew what would remove sap from a surface without damage. I've tried many cleaners and tar removers. The only thing I found to work is simply wait for it to become brittle so it can be broken loose from the surface. My thumb nails take a beating every time I clean the roof! We sat out hurricane Katrina in Maine a few years ago. We were parked under several huge pine trees that shed huge amounts of pine needles as the winds blew. I was finding those needles for years as I cleaned air conditioners and awnings. We replaced the TV dish/dome and sure enough there were the needles under the unit. Love 'em, hate 'em!

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