Be Careful When It Comes to Tree Trimming

be careful when it comes to tree trimming

be careful when it comes to tree trimming

I had my trees trimmed last year, and they already look like they need to be trimmed again. I cannot really afford to trim again this year, but I am afraid if I don’t, the new shoots, which have shot up and look kind of flimsy, might break off in the wind. What should I do?”
Your complaint about weak growth following last year’s trimming is common and occurs where pruning was excessive. Pruning is an invigorating process so that the more you prune, the more new (and flimsy) growth you get. Ideally, trees should be pruned annually, but sparingly. A modest annual trimming will allow light and air into the tree while keeping it a year’s growth away from nearby structures. If you have mature trees, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced arborist each year during the fall season. I suggest getting together with neighbors who also have mature trees and hiring the arborist together in order to save money on the consultation fee.
Strange as it may seem, a tree planted in the right location, with plenty of room to grow, may seldom, if ever, require trimming. Tree-trimming is only necessary where trees are not given sufficient room to grow, which is the case for 99 percent of the trees in the urban forest around us. Trees left untrimmed grow into buildings and utility wires, fall or become hazardous as their branches may break and crash onto cars or people below.
Trees adjacent to buildings, when allowed to grow over the roof line, clog rain gutters with their fallen leaves or scratch against windows in the wind, keeping you up at night. Trees may block windows or skylights, taking away your view while keeping your domicile cold and dark.
Trees that are not given sufficient light and air from all four sides, unless they are regularly thinned out, often develop insect infestations and/or fungal diseases. Trees with dense canopies that are hemmed in by buildings or taller trees are likely to develop root rot if the soil below is not allowed to dry out between waterings.
Such trees with limited light or air circulation must be regularly trimmed.
>Harvey Hickman, Glendale
Color with cabbage
If you want to see constant color in your garden during the remainder of the fall and throughout the winter, consider planting ornamental cabbage and ornamental kale. Ornamental cabbage looks like ordinary cabbage except that its interior leaves are white, pink, lavender or red. Ornamental kale comes in the same variety of colors with the addition of outrageously fluffy or fringed foliage.
The beauty displayed by ornamental cabbage and kale is temperature-dependent. For the colors of these plants to be fully expressed, temperatures must drop below 50 degrees during several consecutive nights. The colder the winter, the more stunning the plants.
Tip of the week: To create a cool, wintry look not only for this season but throughout the year, combine perennial plants with blue foliage, whether in the garden bed or in containers.
The Mexican blue palm (Brahea armata) or Podocarpus ‘Icee Blue’ could be the centerpiece of such an arrangement. You could surround it with a plethora of blue junipers, including ground cover, shrub and tree junipers, all of which are available in blue versions. There are also conical, silvery blue Arizona and Italian cypresses, which could be used either as individual specimen trees or, planted in a row, as a windbreak. Cypresses are highly adaptable to all the weather extremes our area has to offer, from Palm Springs to the Antelope Valley.
For ground cover in your blue garden, consider Echeveria rosettes and the truest blue succulents of them all: trailing blue fingers (Senecio mandraliscae and Senecio serpens).

Photo credit: Rainbirder / / CC BY-NC-SA

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