Getting to the root of the Sycamore Tree problem

There is a tree in the centre of Oberursel that has been receiving quite a bit of attention recently.  Called a “Platane”, a type of sycamore tree, it is located at the junction of the Adenauerallee, Oberhöchstadter Straße and the Liebfrauenstraße, next to what used to be called KDM – “Kaufhaus der Mitte”.

Whilst KDM is in the process of being modernised, the crossing itself has been in discussion for re-development at some time in the future, or even re-configuration you might say, considering that part of the discussion focuses on how the traffic lanes should be laid out.

At one point there was talk of planting a replacement tree and removing the current one, but this met with such resistance – even among members of the town council – that just two months ago the town hall scrapped those plans and came up with new ones leaving the tree in place.

“Not a branch will be damaged” claimed the Taunus Zeitung in March.

The sycamore tree at the Bärenkreuzung

In the end, it was not the branches but the roots that brought the subject back into the spotlight again.  Last week the tree was fenced off and a trench was dug through the area where the roots go, with news and a photo appearing on the BrunnenTreff forum.

Speculation was rife over what the reason for the trench was, with some believing it was connected to the new fibre-optic internet cables currently being installed and even comments to the extent that it would be rather convenient if the tree could not be saved afterwards.

Things came to a head when the local political group OBG put out a press release on Tuesday, claiming that the tree was being subject to “obvious wanton destruction” with their parliamentary group even paying the tree a visit.

Their chairman, Georg Braun, who according to the press release is an authority on tree care, demanded that an expert take a look at the damaged roots and then take measures to avoid further damage to the tree.  He assumes that the tree’s habitat has been trimmed by a digger and that its vitality is now in danger.

Within hours, the town hall had issued a statement on the BrunnenTreff forum, saying that the trench had been dug to investigate the state of the roots in order to protect them during the forthcoming building works.  They even told the Frankfurter Rundschau that slight damage to the roots during this procedure was normal.

By that evening the hole had been filled in again.

But questions remain, such as why the hole was dug using heavy machinery, if the idea was to protect the roots.  Why does the OBG believe that the tree is damaged as a result?  Was the hole dug by hand after all?

With individuals and not just political parties getting involved, the answers may well find their way into the forum.  Otherwise, a parliamentary question could well be on the agenda.

About Graham Tappenden

Graham Tappenden is a British ex-pat who first came to Oberursel in 1993 and returned with his family to live there in 2003. He has been writing for AllThingsGerman.net since 2006. When not writing blog posts or freelancing for the Oberurseler Woche he works as a self-employed IT consultant solving computer problems and designing websites. In 2016 he gained German citizenship.

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