Thursday, February 18, 2010

Paul Bunyan has evidently come to Tennessee...

...or at least his tree-trimming cousin.

It was that time again when all the trees needed to be trimmed. When you own a house with a lot of landscaping, it can get expensive, never more so than when the large stuff needs a haircut.

First, the big maples. These trees grow looooong branches from a central trunk, and get very spingly (is that a word? Well, it's my word.) and susceptible to wind damage. Old Grandfather Maple in my side yard was first:
Believe it or not, they took at least 15 feet off the top of those branches. Now it will grow more side branches and be a much better shape - and not in danger of dropping something onto my roof.

Then they tackled the trees in the front and street-side yard. They look terrible now, but by the end of the summer they will have grown a lot of small branches at the cuts and look more like a tree than a sculpture.
My neighbor got a package deal with me and had her two large maples trimmed too.:
They look better than my trees because they were trimmed more recently and have more side branches. With a little time, mine will branch out into a better tree shape too.

Even the little maple that's struggling to grow in the shade of the oak was shaped up. I know this isn't a good spot for it but I have a soft spot for this little tree that was only a sapling when I moved here:
The tree trimmers will scare you to death if you watch them. They strap on climbing spikes and scamper up the trunk like spider monkeys, and then rig lines to swing between the branches in the crown, wielding a small chain saw. I finally had to go in the house because it was too much. "Bonded and insured, bonded and insured," I kept muttering to myself.

Then, today the lawn guy trimmed the crape myrtles, which truthfully should be more bush than tree but had reached nearly twenty feet. And that's since the last heavy trimming three years ago. These things love the weather in the south and can give my maples a run for their money.
The results are pretty awful looking, but that's what you do to crape myrtles. I had them trimmed to six feet at the center of the cluster, tapering on all sides. Come March or April, sprouts will start to form at the cut ends and fan out into pom-poms of green branches. I think of them as "poodle trees". In July and August, the ends of the new growth will be covered in hot pink flowers. Some people trim off the new growth every year. I usually do it every two or three years. The trees lining the streets downtown are trimmed every February and right now look like sticks planted in the ground. But that way they don't overgrow the sidewalk and get into the power lines.

This one is beside an eight foot fence, so you can see the "after".
Here's some of the "before". Over half of the height has been trimmed off.
It looks pretty drastic but won't hurt them. See that point where all the branches fan out from a central point? That was where they were trimmed the last time. I decided to start out a little lower this year - it might buy me a year or so before they are into the telephone lines again.

Some more trimmed branches. They are a good twelve feet long. The lawn guy had to whack them into three pieces to fit them on his trailer. These are seriously growing bushes. Bushes that want to be trees.
I still have more trimming to do myself - Rose of Sharon to shape up, volunteer hedge sprouts to clip out of the center of the flowering quince, and pyrocanthus to trim away from my windows. For that job, I'll need my leather gloves. Pyrocanthus have some wicked thorns!

1 comment:

momtofatdogs said...

I will look forward to the "after" photos this spring!