Monday, November 9, 2015

Trimming the tree...

No, this is not about decorating a Christmas tree.  We have a small forest as our property, but there is an oak tree we are trying to save.  It is the one which is seen in the front of the house in all the "perspective" photos.  Trees so close to construction are usually killed due to the ground being compacted, the surface being disturbed, etc., all of which contribute to suffocating the roots.  I used a four-inch (10 cm) auger to drill 10 holes around the tree to a depth of 2 feet (0.6 m).  I then dropped in some fertilizer, and back-filled the holes with small gravel.  The gravel allows the roots to get a lot of air and moisture.  As a result, this tree has thrived while we have others which are stressed, some severely.  I cannot do much for these other trees near our house until the final grade is complete.  Nonetheless, it looks like we will keep this nice tree, around which our driveway will curve.

This weekend I purchased a pole trimmer, which is essentially a small chainsaw mounted on a nine-foot (2.7 m) pole.  With it, I can reach branches which need trimming on these mature trees, relieving them of what I call "sucker growth" (unwanted branch growth) which takes nutrients and energy from the tree.  Since the tree will no longer feed these branches, it will typically have growth in the remaining upper branches.  That's the theory, and seems to work out over my experience in trimming my own trees as a homeowner for over 35 years.  On this particular tree, it had sucker growth which certainly detracted from its looks, but also was taking energy a stressed tree could ill afford.  In previous pictures of the house, these branches covered the front entrance to the house -- not completely, of course, but that is where one would look for comparison.  Today's blog has but one picture, and not only is the tree trimmed, but it captures a rare moment in which the construction debris has been cleared.

Most of the construction debris has been removed, and the tree is trimmed -- it took the entire length of the pole trimmer
and me reaching as high as I could to cut some of the branches.  My guess is that the highest branch I reached was
about 14 feet (4.3 m) above the ground.  The tree looks better, and can put more energy in growing outward and upward.