April ECAs—Best Article Runner-Up |Heaven Can Wait: Why the Tree of Heaven Threatens Native Australian Ecosystems
May 11, 2015
Congratulations to Ben F., runner-up of April’s Editors’ Choice Award for Best Article! Check out the article and analysis below.
- Keyword: tree removal
- Vertical: Tree Service
- Country: Australia
This article reads like an encyclopedia entry on the tree of heaven—but written for the average online reader. It thoroughly covers the reasons the tree of heaven is dangerous as well as the ways to get rid of it (including one not-so-recommended way). The author obviously knows his stuff and conveys it in a very clear, thorough way. He keeps his audience in mind and keeps their attention with conversational phrases like, “If you’re lucky enough…”
The headings and bullet points help break up the text so that the reader is not overwhelmed with all of the information. The headings draw the reader in and add to the smooth flow of the piece by anticipating readers’ natural questions. The subheadings are short and descriptive, making the piece easy to scan. The author varies the way each section begins, which is key to great readability.
The organization of the piece follows the reader’s natural thought pattern: First, why is this a big deal? Second, how do I deal with it? Knowing the why first compels the reader to then take action.
When the author lists ways to destroy the tree of heaven, he lists three viable options before listing one that, though possible, is not advisable. By listing good options first, the author provides useful solutions and gains the reader’s trust. When he mentions one that the reader shouldn’t try it doesn’t take away from the value of the article; it even increases the authority of the piece because the author discusses why this method should not be used. Starting with a process that is ill-advised would have been off-putting to many readers; readers expect to read useful advice and starting with less-unusable information would have betrayed their trust in the author.
With the exception of one minor typo, divinely void of errors.
Even though the article covers a lot of information, it is careful to stay within the scope of the controlling idea: why the tree of heaven is threatening and what the reader can do about it. Having a narrow angle allows the author to go into great detail, which is partly what makes the article so useful. By the end of the article, the reader knows six detailed reasons the tree of heaven is threatening, 5 possible ways to get rid of the tree, and the potential ramifications of each method. The author even includes details like, “Triclopyr should be applied to the base of the tree, or directly into the stump of a cut tree, and should be mixed with oil to increase penetration and water displacement.” The reader is left feeling like his questions were answered, and then some.