I had our trees trimmed this week. Not all of them but 9 of the largest specimens plus 5 shrubs that make up what's supposed to be a hedge along the property line on the southwest side. As the tree-hating neighbor that formerly made a fuss about perceived obstructions to her view moved last year, I'd considered leaving all the trees alone this year but my husband invoked the good neighbor card so I scheduled it. I asked the arborist to go lighter in thinning the trees this year and overall I'm pleased with the results.
Work started in the back garden.
|The peppermint willow (Agonis flexuosa) was nicely laced and the plants below should benefit from greater sun exposure|
|The 2 strawberry trees (Arbutus 'Marina') still have enough flowers to keep the hummingbirds happy while giving my husband the view he wanted from the spa|
The big ticket item in the back wasn't so much a trim but rather tree surgery. Three large limbs of the mimosa tree (Albizia julibrissin
) were removed. Since I scheduled the tree surgery back in November, the tree sprouted new foliage here and there, months prior to its usual schedule. This week, when the arborist and his crew showed up, I asked if the growth signified the tree's decline or if it was simply a response to the yo-yo weather conditions we've had this winter. While the arborist couldn't answer that definitively, he said he's been seeing trees behave oddly all over this year. He did a quick check for signs of the shot hole borer
, an insect that's currently causing a lot of problems in Southern California, but he didn't see any signs of that. I gave the okay to go ahead with the surgery.
|The tree's shape looks better to my eyes and my hope is that the removal of the 3 large limbs will diminish the litter dropped by the tree, especially over the patio|
The rest of the trimming, all in the front garden, was relatively straightforward.
|The ornamental pear (Pyrus calleryana) was lightly thinned|
|As was the Magnolia grandiflora|
|The 2 peppermint willows (Agonis flexuosa) along the street were the biggest shock. The willows have provided a filmy screen, which was substantially diminished. If only the shrubs we added nearly 2 years ago to extend the street-facing hedge would hurry up and grow!|
|The "hedge" on the south side behind the lath house got a neat trim. I'd assumed these plants were English laurels but the arborist identified them as cherry laurels (Prunus caroliniana). I'm still not sure of the ID. The fruit fits the former description better than the latter.|
|The strawberry tree (Arbutus 'Marina') in the front was also thinned, giving more light to the plants below|
Of course, there was collateral damage. There always is, no matter how well I think I've cleared the areas around the trees to be trimmed or how careful the crew tries to be. I was most concerned about any damage to the lath (shade) house my husband built but thankfully that was untouched. A recently planted Lotus berthelotti
disappeared, presumably swept up with debris dropped from the peppermint willow in the back. A number of succulents were up-ended and knocked about but, with a 7-person crew, that was to be expected. The area around the strawberry tree in the front garden, which sits atop a moderate slope, suffered the most damage. Frankly, I'd completely forgotten that this tree was on the list until I checked it 2 days before the work was scheduled. Most of what was lost were plants that are easily replaced with cuttings, Aeonium arboreum, Euphorbia tirucalli
, and Senecio vitalis
. An Agave desmettiana
|This was a pup. Sad but not a significant loss.|
My biggest mistake was installing some new plants on the slope. My heart ached when I saw what'd happened to the Crassula falcata
I picked up at the local botanic garden last week.
|The photo on the left shows the plant in its pot the day I purchased it. Part of the plant was missing entirely when I found it and part of what remained was crushed (middle photo). The photo on the right is what I salvaged. An Agave 'Joe Hoak' pup I'd planted near this one was also damaged.|
I'm still picking up debris but that's normal fall-out of the tree trimming process. Wind will shake out bits and pieces of foliage for weeks yet. Another round of Santa Ana winds is on the way, which may expedite that process. The good news is that I can now work on stage 2 of my planting plan for the area surrounding the lath house. It doesn't appear we'll be getting any rain interruptions.
|Mother Nature spit on us for awhile yesterday, dampening the pavement and returning my hair to its natural poker straight state, but it failed to register as measurable precipitation|
|This was the view a couple of hours later as the storm bid adieu. The rain that was showing in the extended forecast for February has also disappeared, making the picture for this rainy season look bleaker even as the skies look glorious.|
I hope this weekend brings you sunny skies. If Mother Nature shows up with rain, please redirect her to Southern California (with a caution to be gentle with the burn areas).
All material © 2012-2018 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party