P81212From the same landscape that, last autumn, was so dutifully deprived of its elegantly cascading rosemary and soon to be fiery autumn color of Boston ivy, https://tonytomeo.com/2017/11/05/serously/ , I procured these disturbing images of what results from of a serious disdain for flowering crabapple bloom. These trees were mentioned earlier in that article, but without such images. Similar victims were discussed last spring, https://tonytomeo.com/2018/03/07/the-good-the-bad-and-theyre-both-ugly/ and about a year ago https://tonytomeo.com/2017/12/06/sculpture/ .

The landscape where these trees live was actually rather well designed, and for a few years, had been well maintained. Seriously! The flowering crabapples were likely selected because they would not get tall enough to encroach into the utility easement above. There were pruned as much as necessary to prevent them from developing into a nasty thicket like young flowering crabapples typically do, but without significantly compromising the spectacular bloom. They really were spectacular!P81212+

About six years ago, a different crew of ‘gardeners’ was hired. It was obvious when it happened because the brutality to other features of the formerly well maintained landscape was so immediate. These flowering crabapples were somehow spared, but only temporarily. They were at their prime when they displayed exemplary bloom for the last time three springs ago. As these pictures indicate, they were hacked back two springs ago, just as the fat floral buds were showing bright pink color, and were about to pop open. All the buds and blooming stems that the trees had put so much work into were cut off and taken away, just days or maybe hours before the big show. The process was repeated in the same manner just prior to bloom last year. A scarce few twigs were somehow missed, and managed to bloom with a few blossoms that developed into the few fruits that can be seen in the second picture. I can not explain why the hacking was done earlier this year. Nor can I explain why a bit more of the twiggy growth remains. Did the ‘gardeners’ leave it for a tiny bit of bloom, or were they just lazy with their mutilation. It does not matter. As long as these trees get hacked like this, they are ruined. The client pays the ‘gardeners’ to do this.

Now, these trees could only be salvaged by renovation. This would involve pollarding, which would remove the tangles of gnarled stubs, but would leave horridly stubbed limbs to start the regeneration process. The trees would be just as deprived of bloom for the first year, but would at least be able to compartmentalize (heal) the wounds on the cleanly stubbed limbs. The secondary growth would need to be very meticulously and systematically groomed and pruned for many years to replace the canopy. It is possible, but would involve more work than even a good horticulturist or arborist would want to devote to the project.P81212++

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23 thoughts on “Horridculture – Disdain For Bloom

    1. That is a very valid point! There was a service here years ago that offered to ‘audit’ the performance of landscape maintenance for property management, but the service never did well. Property managers really do not care about the properties they manage, and some have more to gain from dysfunction. Property owners do not want to be bothered with the drama, which is why they hire management to deal with it. It is such a scam.

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  1. Oh, the humanity! It should be a crime to ruin a beautiful crabapple tree. I propose the establishment of a Department of Garden Protective Services. Inspectors would be empowered to separate abusive homeowners from their plants (the homeowners would have to move to an apartment with no yard). Living in a nice house is a privilege, not a right, a privilege that can be forfeit through inexcusable plant abuse.

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    1. This is at an office complex. These trees were so excellent for their first few years. I know that the property owners and property management can hire whomever they want to maintain their properties, and that what happens on their properties is their business, but if they want their landscapes to be ‘maintained’ like they are, they should not have gotten material with such potential installed. It is like getting a new Buick to haul firewood in.

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      1. It started before reality shows. The landscape industry attracts too many of those who have flunked out at everything else. I have written about that as well. One of our clients got tired of his career as a chiropractor, so became a so-called ‘landscape designer’. My comment to him was that if I ever get tires of growing rhododendrons, I should become a chiropractor. He tried to explain to me that he needed to go to school for that, as if I my degree in horticulture meant nothing.

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      2. Oh, there is no need to apologize. I get it because I work so intimately with it. As an arborist who must inspect trees that have developed problems that are serious enough to justify removal of the affected trees, I have found that almost ALL of the problems are caused by those who charge quite a bit of money to maintain the trees! It is almost as bad for other landscape material. That is why I write about it every Wednesday.

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