P81003There are too many different types of horticultural professionals to count. There are nurserymen who grow horticultural commodities. There are landscape architects and landscape designers who design the landscapes into which some of these horticultural commodities will go. There are landscapers who install such landscapes. Of course, there are gardeners who maintain the landscapes after they are installed. These are just a few of the more familiar horticultural professionals.
I will refrain from my typical ranting about the extreme lack of professionalism among almost all horticultural professionals who are not nurserymen or arborists (okay, and one landscape designer), but must point out something in the picture above. Do you see it?
It is not the fact that this once very well designed landscape was dismantled and mostly replaced with a cheap slapped together assemblage of cliché plants by someone who just needed work.
Nor is it the pointlessly disfigured shrubbery from the original landscape that was salvaged while the best features that could have been salvaged were removed.
Nor is it the fact that this process has been repeated a few times since the building was originally landscaped back in the 1980s, leaving a nicely maturing but weirdly non conforming crape myrtle in front of the queen palm that should be the focal point, as well as a new dogwood that will compete with both focal points.
It is the fact that despite all the effort that went into the installation of this garage sale style landscape, no one bothered to procure the services of an arborist to groom the queen palm. Do you see it now; all those dead fronds hanging from the canopy of the queen palm? It is like taking a pick up through a car wash while it is loaded with garbage.

14 thoughts on “Horridculture – Ignoring Arboriculture

    1. Fortunately, the palm will be fine. The problem is that whomever gets the job of grooming the tree must work around the new landscape, or more likely, the fronds will just fall into the new landscape.


  1. I think my biggest gripe about the use of palm trees is that they are thrown in to a landscape with a bunch of other plants that just don’t match up. It becomes too discombobulating to look at. People claim they “love” palm trees, but then don’t plant them with other specimens that will properly showcase them. Kind of like putting a cactus in an English Cottage Garden. I’m sure you see this kind of thing all the time.

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    1. This landscape was exactly that, except in reverse. There are two queen palms, and there had been a good number of windmill palms, as well as more of the giant yuccas than the mere two that remain. It was a very well designed landscape, although it did look sort of out of place for the region. The windmill palms were exemplary. There was no reason for them to be removed. All the best features of the landscape were removed, but all the worst features are what remain. It would be best to remove it all and start from scratch.


  2. Palm fronds can be huge & when they drop they can do some damage, that looks awfully close to the house, each their own! we have 2 of these palms growing dropping seeds & fronds, the clean up is ridiculous, bring flying foxes, snakes & cockroaches a dangerous pest plant in our area.

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    1. Fortunately, they will not likely reach the building when they fall, but they are quite likely to damage the new landscape below. Until they do so, they are just plain unsightly.


  3. I noticed the palm right away. It looks like someone duct-taped its trunk. Trees endure such indignities at our hands. Today I was taking trash out of street trees, where it had been stuck by stupid people who didn’t have the sense to carry it to the garbage.

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    1. The landscape that was so well designed a long time ago is in such bad condition now that it would look better if it were just removed and replaced with a new landscape. It is such a waste of what had been a good landscape.

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  4. Many folks like palms here in eastern North Carolina (we can’t do Queens though) but they usually don’t fit. We get a winter like last year and all the marginally hardy stuff goes bye-bye. I get a lot of calls, but there is nothing I can do about it. I lost a 20-something eucalyptus last year too. When you take improper selection coupled with improper maintenance, you’re asking for trouble. Great article, especially the closing line.

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    1. Thank you.
      Queens are too popular here. They happen to be excellent for the right situations, and my colleague down south does very well with them. However, they are the default palm now, so they end up in the weirdest situations where other palms or other trees would have been better options. Also, they are very often planted along back fence lines, right below utility easements, where they get decapitated after only a few years if they grow fast. The queen in the picture happens to be in a good situation. It annoys me that it is being made to look so bad.

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