Tucked away at the end of Arlington Street is a small home where Mary Flores has watched for 15 years as hickory nuts rained down on her cars.
“They really do fall like bombs,” she said
Beside her short driveway are two massive hickory trees, one apparently belonging to a neighbor she’s never seen and the other perhaps belonging to the city.
What Flores wants is to see at least one of the trees chopped down so that she can put her car somewhere without having it bombarded.
The trees, she said, are “ruining my cars.”
The hood of one is “totally dented” from the nuts cascading down from the trees, Flores said.
But it’s not clear that she’s going to get relief easily.
City officials said this week they are sympathetic to her plight, but can’t remove a healthy tree merely because its nuts fall on her car.
“Our hands are tied,” Mayor Art Ward said.
Public Works Director Walter Veselka said that “as a green resource for the city, that tree has value.”
Hickory trees grow to about 100 feet tall, but have deep roots as well. They are renowned for their hard wood and for the edible nuts that are doing a number on Flores’ vehicles.
The mayor said that perhaps Flores can prevail on her unidentified neighbor to take down the privately owned tree.
Flores said she’s not sure who owns it, but told officials she doesn’t have the money to cover the tree’s removal, which might be pricy.
Maybe the neighbor “will take care of it,” Ward said. Otherwise, he said, she could sue.
Don Padlo, a longtime public works commissioner, said that it’s possible she could get help from her insurance company as well.
Flores said she wasn’t sure about that avenue.
What she is sure about is that the hickory nuts are driving her nuts.
Though cracking them open is virtually impossible, she said, the squirrels somehow manage it.
They leave behind shards from the shells.
Because they’re so tough and sharp, “they cut our feet,” Flores said.
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Contact Steve Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org