This is one subject I can’t let drop, though I agree with much of what’s been said. I found the picture Amy posted very disturbing; if that were happening on my street, I’d wouldn’t be too happy either. But here’s my street tree story.
I moved onto a street covered with mature maples interspersed with a few mature chestnuts and maybe one or two other varieties, as you see above. They are the city’s trees and cannot be removed or replaced, without their cooperation. The city is responsible for trimming them, but rarely does so. These are (mostly) Norway maples and their roots extend throughout the easeways and front yards to such an extent that, without rain, frequent watering is necessary and you practically have to have a jackhammer to get a bulb in. Not only that, but sometimes the red maples have some weird disease where they get these spots and don’t achieve their proper fall coloring. It’s not really a life-threatening condition; just unsightly.
I should hate these trees and be secretly girdling or otherwise sabotaging them so that the city would have to take them down. And yet. I would never consider doing any such thing and, at most, have had guys doing roof work surreptitiously trim off a branch or two. Every fall I manage to get close to 200 bulbs planted (species and hybrids) and have been pleased with how small bulbs have naturalized in the ground cover. The trees (and their shade) are unfriendly to grass and for me that’s great; I hate grass and have been experimenting with shade perennials and groundcovers. Hellebores do great in the front, as do hostas, hydrangeas, pulmonaria, aruncus, and, surprisingly Japanese anemone. I’ve taken the (semi) dry shade as a challenge and have been having fun with it. I’ve grown to appreciate impatiens, which probably seems a sad statement. Small raised beds (though the roots will find these) and containers are a godsend.
I do love looking up at the trees on an early spring, summer, or fall evening and covered with ice they are magnificent.
And I can’t imagine our street without them. But if something were to happen to one of them …