Every year about this time I see the most horrible things happening in the gardening world. Winter is the time for pruning but beware of the fly by night tree guys. You know what I mean, the two guys in a truck that pull up with a chainsaw. No pruning pole, hand saw or loppers, just a chainsaw. Well, it happens everywhere and I recently read a good article by Bllly Goodnick on the “Crimes Against Horticulture”. What a good read!
I took this photo a couple of years ago. This poor tree was cut back way too hard and now the new growth is spindly and weak. Pruning like this just makes this tree hazardous as its branches will succumb to a wind storm and the weight of a heavy snowfall. If the tree is too big, then it should be removed and replaced with something more suitable for the location. Often trees are planted without realizing the tree’s height at maturity. It is best practice to only remove one-third of the tree’s growth per year.
This problem is pretty common. People use their hedgers and get a little too power hungry with them.If you are shearing an evergreen , never cut back to brown wood. Always leave some green on the plant so the leaves will grow back.
When I saw this tree I almost cried. Just look how it compares to the ones nearby. It looks like the overhead power lines are nearby but they are not close enough to warrant such drastic pruning. This type of pruning is called topping is going to have the tree produce hundreds of water shoots or thin branches. I am sure if I go take a look this year, the tree will look like it has fists full of fingerlike branches at the end of stubby arms. We call this hydro-growth, the response to hard pruning.
I thought it was bad in BC until I took a trip to Arizona where the streets are lined with orange trees. I wanted to hang a sign saying” Kill me now, don’t do half the job” on this tree. I doubt this tree will come back to life. There sure won’t be an orange crop next year.
As I walked around the area I saw more of the same. I guess this is like getting a crew cut. Perhaps there is a competition in the neighbourhood to see who an create the ugliest trees.
Okay, I was somewhat relieved to see orange trees looking better although the shearing was still not natural looking. It definitely beat the chainsaw massacre of the others.
Please people, hire yourself a certified arborist. Your trees are worth it. They provide a place for nature’s animals to hide from predators. If they are clipped too severely how will birds land in your trees? Trees are one of the most valuable assets on your property and should be treated as such.