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Informer: Tree stump, roots bases of sculpture at church

Last Modified: Friday, July 26, 2013 2:47 PM

By Andrew Perzo / American Press

In 2009 I had a short guided tour of New York City. The tour guide took us a few blocks from where the twin towers were to view a very old historical church that was protected by a tree and the church was not damaged. The tree was destroyed and they bronzed the roots and the roots were sitting in the graveyard next to the old church.

My sister toured New York in May, and she did not see the bronze roots. Did they put the bronze roots in the ground zero museum? Could you find out what kind of tree it was?

The roots and stump of the tree, a 70-year-old sycamore, were used by artist Steve Tobin as the bases for the sculpture “Trinity Root,” a 20-foot-tall work that stands in a courtyard of Lower Manhattan’s Trinity Church.

The actual stump, which is what the reader saw in 2009, was preserved and put on display in the churchyard of St. Paul’s Chapel — the two-century-old house of worship that the tree shielded from serious damage in 2001 when the towers collapsed and sent debris sweeping through the streets.

Tobin, who took out a home equity loan to cover the costs of the work, proposed the idea for the sculpture to church officials soon after Sept. 11, but — swamped as they were by relief efforts — they declined.

According to a 2005 New York Times story, when a new rector, the Rev. Dr. James Cooper, took charge at Trinity Church — which oversees St. Paul’s — “he gave the project another look and quickly embraced it, largely, he said, because he believed the sculpture would be a powerful cynosure, embodying religious sentiment without being an overtly religious symbol.”

“There was a universal appeal to us in the nature of the work,” Cooper told the Times. “Our hope was that it would let people look in both directions — back, to honor those who died, but then as a root that it would also be an encouragement that something is going to grow from it.”

Tobin, a noted bronze sculptor, has said that “Trinity Root” is his “most significant work.”


Carbaryl, Dipel work against pesky worms

I’m having a problem with worms on my tomatoes. What is the best way to get rid of them?

Robert Turley, a horticulturist with the local LSU AgCenter office, said to use a 10 percent-carbaryl dust on a five- to seven-day schedule or to use the biological pesticide Dipel on a similar basis.

Dipel contains a strain of the soil-dwelling microbe Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt. How Bt works, according to a University of California, San Diego, website on the insecticide:

1. Insects ingest the Bt.

2. The Bt toxin — insecticidal protein crystals — binds to certain receptors in the guts of the insects, which then stop feeding.

3. The toxin causes the insects’ intestinal wall to break down, and Bt spores and the insects’ gut bacteria enter the body.

4. The insects die of starvation.

“Even though the toxin does not kill the insect immediately, treated plant parts will not be damaged because the insect stops feeding within hours,” reads the website.

“Bt spores do not spread to other insects or cause disease outbreaks on their own.”


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The Informer answers questions from readers each Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. It is researched and written by Andrew Perzo, an American Press staff writer. To ask a question, call 494-4098, press 5 and leave voice mail, or email

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