Holy Guacamole!

This old article does not conform to the ‘Horridculture’ meme for Wednesday like ‘Anti-Community Garden’ would have; but I already reblogged that article, so can not do so again. (It can be found at https://tonytomeo.com/2017/12/09/hate-destroys/ .) At least this article is more amusing.

Tony Tomeo

P71202.jpgHorticulturists have a way of making all those long Latin names sound easy to pronounce. Lyanothamnus floribundus ‘Asplenifolius’ – Syzigium paniculatum – Metasequoia glyptostroboides. I do not know why proper pronunciation of their names is so important. They have no ears. They can not hear if we simply call them ‘Earl’. Even if they could hear, they would not respond.

Communication with other people is probably more important. Yet, we are so often unable to spell something as seemingly simple as the sound of a palm frond falling to the ground. Does it sound like “whoosh”, or “splat”, or some combination of both? What do the Santa Anna Winds sound like as they blow through a grove of Aleppo pines? What does a red flowering gum full of bees sound like?

Heck, Brent could not even tell me what an incident that he heard in his own backyard sounded like…

View original post 399 more words

Sculpture

This article from three years ago definitely conforms to the ‘Horridculture’ meme for Wednesday.

Tony Tomeo

P71206

I use the term loosely. Okay, so maybe I use it mockingly in this context. This sort of thing really should have no connection to the works of Calder, Rodin or Brancusi. It might be worthy of a few fancy adjectives, such as ‘severe’, ‘unusual’, ‘dramatic’ and ‘bold’. Horticulturally though, we might be thinking more like ‘disgraceful’, ‘abhorrent’, ‘ridiculous’ or ‘just plain sad’.

There is nothing wrong with pollarding, that severe sort of pruning that almost all other arborists will tell you is wrong. It involves pruning trees back to the same distended terminal knuckles every winter. Only a few trees are adaptable to the technique, and technically, sweetgum happens to be one of those few trees.

The stipulation is that once pollarded, they MUST be cut back to the same knuckles EVERY winter. A small stub or maybe two can be left on knuckles to allow them to elongate…

View original post 470 more words

Green Roof

This artice is from three years ago too, and the picture is a bit older. I sort of wonder if this tree is still there.

Tony Tomeo

P71125Is this a bad idea for a green roof?

Is it a houseplant that got too big?

Is it a wheelchair accessible tree-house?

None of the above. It is just weird architecture, designed to preserve a rare Chilean wine palm. The tree was probably planted in the front garden of a Victorian home that was on this site before the site was redeveloped. Chilean wine palms were more popular back then; and this one seems to be about that age. Although it seems to be healthy now, the constriction in the trunk indicates that it had been stressed by the redevelopment, which undoubtedly covered much of the established root system. The time it took for the length of trunk above the constriction to grow coincides with the estimated age of the building below. The tree very likely had better access to rainwater before.

Because it is a palm, the trunk…

View original post 156 more words

Tree Surgeons Evolved Into Arborists

Tree surgeons maintain the big trees.

Arborists are very specialized horticulturists. They prefer to work with trees. Of course that is not as simple as it sounds. Some are nurserymen who grow trees. Some select appropriate trees for landscape design. Even some of the orchardists who work with many trees of a similar type have earned this prestigious designation. Decades ago, we still knew many of them as tree surgeons.

Arboriculture, which is the specialized horticulture of trees, has certainly evolved through the decades. Tree surgeons no longer graft fruit trees directly in home gardens. Nurserymen graft trees in production nurseries, to make them available from retail nurseries. However, modern tree surgeons now work with much more diversity of many species that were unknown to their predecessors.

As storms become more frequent through autumn and winter, the need for arboriculture becomes more apparent. More unstable trees fall. More structural deficient limbs break. Many trees prefer to be pruned while dormant through winter. In actuality though, arboriculture is important throughout the year. Some procedures, for some sorts of trees, should happen significantly earlier or later.

Trees are the most substantial features of home gardens. Once they grow beyond reach, they need to be maintained by qualified tree surgeons. Regardless of what most say, very few gardeners are qualified to perform major arboricultural procedures. Many tree surgeons will attest to finding that most damage that trees endure is caused by gardeners with minimal regard for arboriculture.

Tree surgeons who are Certified Arborists of the International Society of Arboriculture, or ‘ISA’, have demonstrated their proficiency with arboriculture. After passing their certification examination, Certified Arborists maintain their credentials by continued involvement with educational seminars, classes and workshops of the ISA. Not many other horticultural professionals are so dedicated.

More information about procuring the services of an ISA certified arborist can be found at www.isa-arbor.com.

Six on Saturday: LOG!

What rolls down stairs
alone or in pairs,
and over your neighbor’s dog?
What’s great for a snack,
And fits on your back?
It’s log, log, log

It’s log, it’s log,
It’s big, it’s heavy, it’s wood.
It’s log, it’s log, it’s better than bad, it’s good.”

Everyone wants a log
You’re gonna love it, log
Come on and get your log
Everyone needs a log
log log log

Hopefully, no one remembers this. Anyway, vegetation management has become something of a priority recently, and has been generating a bit of firewood.

1. LOG! From Blammo! Actually, this one is from a bigleaf maple, Acer macrophyllum. It is an exemplary specimen, artfully displayed against a backdrop of sawdust scattered over asphalt.

2. Pseudotsuga menziesii, Douglas fir is cruddy firewood that can ruin carpet inside a car if moved while green and sappy, but most was gone by the time I got this picture. It is all gone now.

3. (Notho)lithocarpus densiflorus, tanoak is much better firewood. It is also my least favorite of native trees here. It smells like bad salami while in bloom, and produces irritating tomentum.

4. Ligustrum japonicum, waxleaf privet is not native. It was likely a remnant of a prehistoric landscape, rather than self sown. The few logs are nothing to brag about, but will burn like olive.

5. Umbellularia californica, California bay was claimed before it was stacked, so was outfitted with a sign that read, “This bay is not free. (This ain’t FREEBAY!) LOL – LOL”. It smell badly!

6. Acer macrophyllum, bigleaf maple, according to the sign, is for Aunt Jemima. It is one of my favorite native species, but is notably uncommon, so I am none too keen on cutting any down.

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:

https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/

Mature Trees Need Professional Help

50902thumb
Arboriculture is specialized horticulture of trees.

Arborists are horticulturists who are specialized with the horticulture of trees, which is known as arboriculture. In urban gardening, they are not as familiar as gardeners who mow lawns and tend to the annuals, perennials and shrubbery that are close to the ground; but they should be. The trees that arborists maintain are the most significant features in most landscapes.

Bad annuals or poorly tended lawns can get unsightly, but are not too hazardous. However, a tree can be extremely hazardous if it becomes unstable or develops structural deficiency. Falling trees or limbs are very dangerous, and can cause all sorts of damage to anything within reach. Arboriculture is therefore the most important horticulture in home gardens with trees.

Sadly, many trees are severely damaged by improper pruning, which is often performed by those hired to prune them. Some get pruned too severely, or get pruned in the wrong season. Others do not get pruned aggressively enough. Either way, many get structurally compromised so that they drop limbs as they mature. Some trees get damaged too severely to salvage.

This is precisely why arboriculture should be done by qualified arborists. Unfortunately, finding such an arborist may not be as easy as it would seem to be. The industry is notoriously overrun with ‘hackers’, who are unfamiliar (and often unconcerned) with what trees need, and how trees respond to improper pruning.

The International Society of Arboriculture, or ISA, certifies arborists who pass an exam of arboricultural expertise. ISA certified arborists maintain their certification with regular involvement with the ISA, which involves arboricutural seminars and classes, as well as networking with other professional arborists. Certified arborists can be found at the website of the ISA at isa-arbor.com.

Six on Saturday: Timber! III

At the end of May, Six on Saturday – Timber! II, ended with a precariously disfigured bay tree. Timber!, on May 10, mentioned that most of the tree had previously broken apart and fallen on top of a big Douglas fir tree that had fallen earlier. Prior to this big mess, the bay tree had been leaning on the Douglas fir tree. Now, it just continues to deteriorate. The precariously disfigured limb that remained last May was the most recent victim of gravity. Not much of the tree remains.

1. This was what we were concerned about. The disfigured and fractured trunk twisted from leverage exerted onto it by an upper limb, which is now extended downward instead of upward.P00718-1

2. Damage was impressively minimal. An exemplary specimen of Chinese maple sustained a direct hit from the main limb of the bay tree, but also sustained only minor structural damage.P00718-2

3. The trail somehow remained passable, although closed because of the big fallen limb dangling above. As the limb was dismantled, the fractured portion of the trunk broke away and fell.P00718-3

4. This big piece of the twisted and fractured portion of the trunk looks like a canoe, and is about as big. This was suspended more than twenty-five feet up, which is why the trail was closed.P00718-4

5. What remains of the bay tree is still severely disfigured, but is not so dangerously structurally compromised. It can remain until another arborist can get here to remove it and other trees.P00718-5

6. It looks worse up close. Nonetheless, there is not much we can do about it now. The limb to the far right originates from the same trunk. The big gray trunk in the background is a tan oak.P00718-6

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:

https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/

Horridculture – Solar Power

P00715
This gives a new meaning to ‘shade tree’.

Leaves are the original solar panels. They collect solar energy, and convert into useful resources. Some of those resources get converted into other resources that are good for human consumption, such as fruit, vegetables, lumber, firewood and oxygen. However, one resource that leaves do not produce is electricity.

That is why the big solar array pictured above was installed over a big parking lot. There are a few of these arrays in this parking lot, and more in other nearby parking lots. Many trees were cut down to accommodate them. People who work nearby can use the electricity more than they could use vegetation, or anything that vegetation could produce within this area.

Shade trees are nice over parking lots, but are not necessary over a parking lot that is shaded so thoroughly by such big solar arrays. After parking during rainy weather, an umbrella is only necessary between the solar arrays and the adjacent office buildings. There are no more fallen leaves to clean up. Pavement and curbs will no longer be displaced by growing roots.

The red gum that is also pictured above, under the solar array, is not so impressed. It likely grew from a root of a red gum that was removed so that the solar array could be constructed. Sadly, it must be cut down again, not only because it is under the solar array, but also because it is against the sidewalk. It has clearance problems both above and below.

It is rather ironic that even after all the trees that formerly shaded this parking lot were cut down for the installation of this solar array, this young red gum that is so determined to survive can not stay. I can not help but wonder what this young red gum thinks of green energy.

Horridculture – Spruce Up

P00610
Even Charlie Brown would reject this little blue spruce.

No one wants to cut down this little blue spruce. What is worse is that no one wants anyone else to cut it down either. We all know it is ugly. We all know that it can not be salvaged. We all know that it really should relinquish its space to the healthy and well structured coast live oak next to it, in the lower left of the picture. Yet, it remains.

It was planted amongst a herd of gold junipers in about 1980 or 1981, shortly after the construction of the adjacent buildings. An abandoned irrigation system indicates that it was likely irrigated for some time afterward, although it is impossible to know for how long. Otherwise, it and the junipers were completely ignored for the last four decades.

When the vegetable garden was installed nearby, brambles, weeds and trash that had been accumulating for forty years was removed from the area. A few of the most decrepit junipers that were not worth salvaging were removed too. The young and feral coast live oak that grew next to the spruce should have been removed as well, but is actually in very good condition.

Furthermore, the coast live oak is a better tree for the particular application. It is native, so does not mind neglect. The spruce was never really happy there, which is why it is so puny and disfigured now, with the lower two thirds of the trunk bare of limbs and foliage. Obviously, the spruce should be removed so that the oak can continue to develop as it should.

We just like the spruce too much to remove it directly. Even though it would look silly if the bare trunk were exposed by the removal of the oak, the bit of foliage on top is so pretty and blue and familiar. I mean, it looks like we have a spruce in the yard; and everyone likes a spruce!

The plan is to subordinate it to the oak. As the oak grows upward and outward, the lower limbs of the spruce will be pruned away to maintain clearance. Eventually, the spruce will look so silly that the landscape would look better without it, and we will not mind cutting it down so much. It will be unpleasant, but it will be better than interfering with the development of the oak.

Hieroglyphs

P00606K
“111”? . . . “777”? . . . “TTT”? . . . “LLL”?

What does this mean? Is it ‘111’ deprived of the lower serifs? Is it ‘777’ with abbreviated arms? . . . ‘TTT’ lacking right arms? . . . ‘LLL’ with abbreviated legs? Is it pointing toward something important? Is a hieroglyph from an ancient language . . . or a language that has yet to be invented?! Is it like a miniature crop circle pattern cut into wood by Sasquatch or extraterrestrials?!

The arborist who left it here after cutting down the deceased ponderosa pine that formerly stood where this large stump remains might be amused to read that I contemplated it so intently. Actually, I did not really contemplate it so much. I only wrote about it as if I did because it is amusing to do so. I have no idea what this hieroglyph represents. I know that it is not important.

I have worked with enough respectable arborists to know that some of them prefer to leave their distinctive marks on the stumps of some of the impressively large trees that they cut down. In many of the suburban regions in which I work, most of such stumps get ground out shortly afterward. In the forested rural area here, such stumps remain until they rot and disintegrate.

On rare occasion, I encounter a familiar hieroglyph or the initials of a respected colleague. Now that we are as old as we are, familiar hieroglyphs are increasingly rare. Arboriculture is for the young. I sometime wonder about those who leave unfamiliar hieroglyphs. To me, the continuation of the tradition seems to indicate that they enjoy their work as much as my colleagues did.

That is important in horticultural industries. There are few in society who understand the appeal. We do what we do because it is what we enjoy.