Science: Friend of Trees

George Edward Stone, the best friend U.S. trees ever had, died last week, aged 80, in Amherst, Mass. His were the scientific discoveries which lie behind the modern craft of tree surgery. In a number of patent fights, when professional tree surgeons claimed exclusive rights to tricks of their trade, Stone proved that he had long before anticipated them.

When Stone was an undergraduate at Massachusetts Agricultural College, botanists were obsessed with taxonomy—classification of plants. But to Stone a tree was not a specimen but a dynamic organism influenced by a complex of...

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