Last year there was a report that mentioned the old Sycamore trees in Tehran’s Pahlavi street (now Vali Asr street) and northern part of Tehran are vanishing. Then there was a discussion that ensued about regime people (Pasdaran) intentionally cutting these trees to deny street protestors’ cover during demonstrations!
So this year when I got a chance to go for a visit I made a point of noticing these trees and making some pictures and observations and talking to some people. In additional to family and friends I actually got a chance to talk to some passengers riding a bus. Once a relative outed me as a visitor from America (and then left!) I had to talk about something so I talked about these trees.
At first glance when you look at these streets and the trees they’re there as magnificantly and nostalgic as ever. Second I don’t even know how these trees have made it either during Shah or now since at their base (trunks) they’re surrounded by concrete and asphalt. There is only so much room for some water to go to their roots. Pahlavi street is downhill from north and so the streams that carry the water to the south and where these trees are planted are cemented to prevent sediments and mudslides. So it’s a mystery to me how they get enough water to stay alive.
They are very strong trees that require minimal water and throughout Tehran (with little annual rainfall) only few kinds of trees survive, these Syacamore trees and white berry trees (white toot trees) are everywhere.
Then when you look more closely you see gaps here and there where a tree has fallen. However, in many cases they’re not uprooted rather cut in the middle or even smaller trees planted. From what I’ve heard tree falling on these streets is an issue and fire departments spend time opening the roads and rescuring homeowners after a fallen tree, especially after a thunderstorm.
I took several pictures but chose this picture in the blog because you can see how they’ve been cut at the middle and then new branches sprouting as well as their bottom which is surrounded by concrete and asphalt. Also, please note how close some of them are to the buildings and how the branches are all over the house.
So from what I can gather these trees are very special and have survived decades and contribute to the air quality of Tehran and they’re not going anywhere. Managing them is not easy since you can’t just prune them when pruning will cause just faster growth. They are being replanted and since they survive well in Tehran it’s not hard to have more and more of them.