Changing Surroundings: Tree Following July 2017

Squirrelbasket hosts this tree-following meme over at her blog. She’s a lot more ambitious than I. She’s following an avenue of 100 trees. And she has to walk some way to catch up with them. Me? In my dotage I’m following a malus – crab apple – that’s growing in my front garden. Though I’ve found that this can be surprisingly strenuous. As with many regular memes, you want each contribution to be different. But trees don’t always oblige by showing monthly changes. They come into leaf. They may display blossom. They may fruit. The fruits fall. Then the leaves fall. We have five significant changes and seven more months to fill.

So I’ve found some things to do which, perhaps, I wouldn’t otherwise have got round to doing. That’s a side benefit of these meme things.

Meanwhile, my tree has found something to do this month. Just as many fruiting trees do a spot of self-thinning of fruits so they’re not crowded out, my Malus has been dropping copious quantities of tiny little fruits all over the place.

They’re about a quarter of an inch across. Lost in the lawn, they’re a bit more visible on the pavement. One thing I’ve noticed is that the little fruitlets – they’re not windfalls – have all started to turn a pinky-red.

On the tree, the developing fruits are almost all still a definite green shade. I wonder whether there’s some sort of signal the tree sends out. You know, something like “You’re moving too fast. Go away!” Fruits that change colour too soon get detached?

Back in March I gave the tree a pedicure.  I cleared around its base and planted several Hakonechloa to, in time, I hoped, grow into a leafy sock to keep the roots warm. Last month I replaced two of them and added some more. Now they’ve really taken off.

If they carry on growing at this rate, next year I may not be able to see the ring of pea gravel.

But I still had to think of something to fill the July gap. Now some of you may have noticed that in earlier photos of the tree, the growth seems a bit lop-sided.

It’s growing predominantly to the right.

This, I think, has been due to a rather large tree out of shot over to the left. This tree was (only a bit of trunk still is) a whitebeam. It drove me and neighbours to drink. Not that I’m complaining at having someone to drive me to the pub so I can drink! 🙂  It would start to leaf in July, produce some insignificant white fruits in early August and start dropping leaves at the end of the month. It wasn’t unusual for it to be bare again by the latter part of September. Daily leaf collection was becoming too time consuming in what is a busy gardening month. And the roots were breaking surface all over the place, threatening mower blades with destruction. Kerb stones were starting to move. It had to go.

Then I got the quote for cutting it down.

So I did the job myself. Took a bit of thinking but if you cut the right way with the chainsaw you can pretty much guarantee which way whatever you’re cutting off will fall. I only made one mistake which resulted in a large branch landing in a hedge and leaving a hole. But the hedge is going soon anyway so no matter.

I’d already taken out the spreading lower branches at this point. The tree was about two-thirds of its former width. To the right you can see the gap in the hedge and, just above and to the left of that, the stump of the branch that did the damage.

My aim last year was to end the scourge of leaves in the street. I ended the year with the tree reduced to a central bit which threatened to destroy part of next door’s front garden if it fell the wrong way. I needed to think a bit about guy ropes and stuff. It stood through the winter as a testament to my laziness desire for careful thought and planning. But the result was that I was rewarded by the remains springing into growth again last week.

True to form, it started to regrow in July.

No more time to procrastinate. I had to finish the job. Some rope, a larger chainsaw and a couple of hours work and I was left with ……

Now do I remove the rest of the trunk and grind out the roots or just remove the bark (which’ll otherwise start to re-sprout) and carve some sort of thing.

There’s a couple of owls carved from stumps outside a sheltered housing complex round the corner. Maybe I’ll go for something simple – like a depiction of the Battle of the Five Armies at the end of The Hobbit.

But now my Malus will get a lot more light on the left and hopefully, over time, will re-balance its growth a bit. And the neighbours have a lot more light in their front garden.

And I won’t have as much leaf mould.


7 thoughts on “Changing Surroundings: Tree Following July 2017

  1. Fascinating! I usually cringe at trees being felled, but on this occasion I have no problem, as I am not a great fan of whitebeams. There is one on the patch of grass in the middle of our modern cul-de-sac and it’s a little bit underwhelming. The tough leaves also blow onto our garden in autumn.
    I’m disappointed I’m not going to see the battle scene from the Hobbit artistically interpreted, but you are probably right to remove every last trace of the stump. I have made a habit of “following” stumps I have seen and its amazing how many throw out leaves again.
    And obviously I love the gorgeous Hakonechloa for both its form and colour.
    Thanks for contributing again with such imagination 🙂

    1. Thanks Pat. Me, imaginative? Well the tree isn’t co-operating so I had to come up with a different angle. But, so far, I’m stumped for next month. Unless things progress and the hedge in front of my tree gets removed. The Hakonechloa have flowered but I only noticed the remnant spikes too late.

    1. Me? A tree surgeon? Nah! Tree surgeons know what they’re doing! 😉 Hakonechloa’s very versatile. Would also make a stunning pot plant (as many flower show exhibits attest).

    1. I’ve been mulling. And having drunk all the wine am going to take it out completely. With the best will in the world I can’t see how I can make it fit into what I want to do with the area. Because it’s so near the road, I’d be worried about anything I put on the top of it getting nicked. But thanks for the suggestions.

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