Right now, Colorado is in the middle of Master Gardener and Colorado Gardener Certificate training. What I love about teaching our "newbies" is their eternal optimism. As a seasoned Extension agent, I can't say that I have the same outlook on certain landscape practices they do. That's not to say I'm a "glass half empty" person...I'm more of a realist.
The classes I teach for the circuit are the Science of Planting Trees and Care of Trees in the Landscape. And with both of these classes, we discuss trees gone bad. We have some great discussions about trees (and landscape practices) and there are always a few people who hold out the eternal hope that the tree will recover.
|A tree that stimulates good discussion...keep it or make the final pruning cut?|
So when it is time to say goodbye? Well, it's a hard decision. But think about the health and overall look of the tree as objectively as you can. Try to keep your personal feelings out of the equation, though I know this is easier said than done. Especially if the tree was planted to celebrate or honor someone.
Think about the following when accessing your tree:
1. Does it have proper structure and/or branching?
2. Is it aesthetically pleasing? Does it add to the overall beauty of the property?
3. What percent of the tree is in decline? If you prune out the dead branches, what will the tree look like?
4. If you change your cultural practices, is there a strong likelihood the tree will recover?
5. Finally, and most importantly, how much are YOU willing to invest in the tree, both financially and with your time?
And sometimes, all it takes is someone to tell you, "Cut it down!" Peer pressure does wonders.
Let's take a look at some trees that probably should be removed. Now, before you label me as a "tree hater", I'm a firm believer that we should encourage and promote good horticultural practices. The photos below are not examples of our finest work.
|Is your intent to grow half a tree?|
|The fix after a storm.|
|Trees should not levitate!|
|The homeowner must believe in miracles...!|
|Five leaves and oh-so-pathetic.|
I know it's hard to say goodbye. No one wants to cut down a tree, especially if it has a few leaves and only one living branch--because it's still ALIVE--there's hope! But be diplomatic and consider it a new opportunity where you can plant another tree in its place and start the cycle of life over. You can do it!