In Greek "systema" means "an organized whole", meaning a whole composed of parts in an orderly arrangement according to some scheme or plan.
The earth exists in the solar system in which with the other planets it revolves around the sun. There are many such systems in the Universe.
Here on earth billions of beings exist - humans, animals, plants. And each of these is a system in itself, again a highly ordered arrangement of parts and processes working together in the creation of a product or service. The individual systems are integrated into larger ones, they in turn into still larger ones, and so on ad infinitum... Fortunately, in our time, an awareness has been growing and the media are doing their part in spreading the information about the vital importance of trees for everything from simple comforts to the very continuation of life .
In a recent news broadcast it was pointed out that a house which is surrounded by trees spends 10% less for energy in summer than one that isn't. Trees trap more sun light energy than any other single organism on earth, thus being a major provider of biological currency. Glucose is needed to sustain life as we know it on this planet.
Another report on health matters pointed out that there is a higher incidence of childhood cancers in families that use herbicides and pesticides. This leads us to the problem of proper tree care.
Here, as in all Medicine, the first principle must be: "FIRST OF ALL DO NO HARM!" This implies, of course, a thorough understanding of the healthy organism i.e. in this case, the tree biology. This, in turn, brings us to a second principle: "DON'T HURT THE TREE AND YOU WON'T HURT YOURSELF!" An unbelievable example is about a fellow who for twenty years engaged in the practice of drilling holes into trees and injecting pesticides and: fungicides. Well, he did not help the trees, but he developed such severe bone cancer that at the end of his life he could not visit his trees anymore.
What makes a healthy tree? The availability in the proper proportions of the right "STEW" - Space, Temperature, Elements and Water. And the energy of the sun will be used optimally making a tree into the most efficient system on earth. Everything is recycled. (By contrast, the automobile is the most inefficient system - it generates heat, and then you need more energy to cool it.) Today, even a child knows that the destruction of the rain forests threatens the very existence of life on earth.
There is no word in the vocabulary to describe an amazing feature particular to trees: It's a system which is both alive and dead.
John A. Keslick Jr.
Text & Graphics Copyright © 1997 Keslick & Son Modern Arboriculture