I came across an article in Landscape Architecture from this past fall about a design company that wants to make billboards more attractive by creating elaborately engineered gardens growing around and behind them - in the air. You can click here to see the article, be sure to go to page 2. I can think of a better way to make them more beautiful for a lot less money - remove this visual clutter on the landscape entirely and legislate that they are never replaced.
I understand that cigarette makers, payday loan lenders, puppy mill operators and outdoor advertisers all have a right to make a living. However, should this right to ply a trade also give a company the right to go onto adjacent private or public property to badly prune or remove someone else's trees just so the public can benefit from their messages? Televisions come with on/off switches and magazines can be closed, but billboards are more or less permanent (at least until the next hurricane) fixtures on the landscape and operate 24 hours a day.
Here are some badly pruned River Birches (Betula nigra) adjacent to a massive billboard here in Norfolk. In all honesty, I can't say whether these were pruned so they wouldn't block the billboard, or if it was done by the fast food company (on whose property they were planted) so their restaurant was not hidden. Either way, someone was not thinking when these potentially large trees were planted.
Maybe next time I feel like ranting it will be about this other form of advertising, but at least this kind has to be parked at some point.