Tag Archives: sycamore tree

South Compo Sycamore: Sick?

Michael Calise has forgotten more about Westport than most of us remember.

But he hasn’t forgotten about the sycamore tree on the Post Road/South Compo corner.

The sycamore at the Post Road/South Compo intersection.

Calise — a Westport native, and 1958 Staples High School graduate — has watched it for many years. It may not have been there when the British marched past on their way to Danbury in 1777, but it sure predates construction of the 1950s-era Compo Acres Shopping Center. It is estimated to be at least 150 years old.

Constant traffic — and drivers idling at that busy light — have taken a toll. Seven years ago, “06880” reported on alarming tree-killing mulch, and bark damage. Shopping center owner Equity One said that they knew the sycamore was a “defining aspect” of the property, and promised to take care of it.

The other day, Calise sent Peter Hannan some photos.

One view of the South Compo/Post Road sycamore …

The arborist responded:

“For years the tree has suffered from anthracnose, a fungus that distorts the new leaves and often causes premature leaf fall. This is a direct result of wet and cool spring weather that allows the disease to thrive.

“As summer progresses and when these weather conditions change the tree will hopefully put on full foliage as it has in the past.

“The other item that was quite clear from the photos is the dead tops in the crown directly above the recent construction. In narrowing the environment of the root zone, some damage was certainly done.

… and another. (Photos/Michael Calise)

“Trees for descriptive image are a mirror images below the ground as they appear above the ground. So the dead tops point to where the damage occurred, much like girdling roots. If this tree were on a private estate it certainly would have not encountered all the environmental issues, and would have been sprayed/fertilized or injected for the anthracnose.

“Just as an aside, a Connecticut group registers and documents notable trees. The criteria is oldest, tallest, widest, largest diameter. etc. Several are in Westport. If nothing else, with all the challenges this tree has experienced over the years — and there have been many — its resiliency is certainly champion.”

Sycamore Sidewalk

The handsome sycamore that sits just inside Compo Acres Shopping Center — right near the Post Road/South Compo entrances — has been the subject of “06880” stories before.

In December, owner Equity One declared the tree to be a “defining aspect” of the property. Representative Michael Lai said that Equity One “takes its stewardship seriously.”

Just how seriously has come into question recently.

Compo Acres sycamore

The ongoing renovation project — very ongoing — has entered its sidewalk phase. Concerned Westporters wonder if the sycamore — which has already survived a construction-related “mulch volcano” (a potentially tree-killing layer was mounded against the trunk), and bark damage (a woman attached an advertising sign for a fitness center) — can withstand all the cement that will soon be poured around its base.


Losing A Long Lots Lot

A short stretch of Long Lots Road always makes me smile.

On the south side — just past the hill behind Bertucci’s — sit a half dozen handsome homes. Built in the 1920s, they’ve aged well. They look lived-in, and well-loved.

I admire the trees on each property too.

I better look closely at #28 Long Lots. It may not be there much longer.

The property was sold on September 17. A demolition permit for the 2-story colonial is already in the works.

If it’s like most teardowns, the yard will also be leveled. Gone will be an enormous, 100-year-old white oak/sycamore, arcing over Long Lots Road. It’s one of the most famous, and beloved, trees in town.

The handsome tree at 28 Long Lots Road.

The handsome tree at 28 Long Lots Road.

Emails are circulating, urging tree lovers to contact the selectmen and Public Works director Steve Edwards to “make sure the town stays ‘green.'”

I know there are Westporters who are happy to see trees go. During the past few storms, falling trees have closed Long Lots Road with regularity.

But this one seems worth maintaining (and, for sure, trimming). It’s so striking. And with Long Lots a major thoroughfare, it’s got so many admirers.

There’s no question: If this tree falls, everyone will hear it.