My thoughts and prayers go out to all those in Oklahoma who have lost loved ones after the terrible tornado swept away schools and houses and left devastation in its wake.
Here in the little village of Elstree, a 200 ft. high horse chestnut tree in full flower dropped onto the busy two lane road in the early evening. It avoided passing cars. The candle-like flower reaches higher than a hand and contains considerable moisture. In full leaf after the dormancy in winter, the weight must have toppled the giant. You could say it's over-production for future generations of trees caused its downfall.
Sometimes tree hugging isn't enough. Every year, surveyors assess the trees. Two trees were removed further uphill before the leaves formed. The Highways Department missed the tree that crashed ten feet away from our neighbor's house. He rushed out and cut away branches to allow busses and vehicles to pass in single file.
The Guardian UK, gives more information. Horse chestnuts have been hit by two potentially life-threatening diseases. The first is bleeding canker: bacteria infects the bark, cutting off the water supply to the crown. The other involves a relatively new pest to the UK: the leaf-mining moth, originally from the Balkans. It is indiscriminate, attacking workaday horse chestnuts and grander trees alike. Click here for the article to help save the trees.
Mother Nature constantly shows who is in charge of the planet. We must cope as best we can amongst the forces of wind, floods and earthquakes. My prayers join those around the world for the survivors in Oklahoma.