Thursday, June 18, 2009

behind my house, an alien landscape

This year we are really trying to pull it together and finish up some work on our house that needs to get done. I've managed quite a bit of it myself, but some things you (I) just can't do. One of them was to attend to our trees out back - when we first moved in there were six trees behind our house. And that was in a terraced garden (no yard, no lawn, a 3-level brick and concrete space with some planting beds left) that is maybe 17 feet by 30.

Two went the first year, another went about 5 years ago, but the 3 that were left were way overgrown and tangling into each other. One seemed to have some dead limbs hanging right over where Emily hangs out, another was scraping the roof. Both things I wanted fixed. I also thought both trees could probably stand to be thinned a bit where they were running into each other. So, I called a tree service (I picked one that had a certified arborist, in case you are wondering) and had someone come out and take a look.

He noted that one tree was very off-balance and leaned over the house (a storm had taken part of it down years ago) and suggested "balancing it out" by cutting it back and taking out 2 branches. Another had some dead limbs and needed an old collar removed. And the third was so sickly he suggested removing it entirely. This all made sense to me, so I said yes, and they came back two days later. After about 45 minutes of activity and a crew of 10 men swarming behind my house, I was called to sign and pay....and to my shock, I suddenly had NO TREES. The "balancing" worked out to the tree being cut back to nothing (I found out later this is called "hat-racking" and is actually illegal in some places), and the few dead limbs ended up being 90% of the 2nd tree. (At least that tree has a small section that was left). We went from a woodland-like shaded garden to nearly full sun in less than an hour. And it is still freaking me out. And it's killed most of the (deep shade) plants that we had started. Certified arborists indeed.

On the upside, honeysuckle I planted when we first moved in bloomed for the first time in years, and the sun is helping a lot of the plants. A year for the bricks and stones to dry out probably can't hurt either. Plus, Emily can grow veggies this year (although the weather is making that weird....). We're thinking of starting some fast pumpkins soon, and I'm told that our trees will probably be back by the end of the year, albeit a bit smaller than when they were last seen!

But still....when I look out our kitchen windows I just think "whose yard is that?!" I don't know if I'll ever be able to have my trees "pruned" again!

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