Three for Thursday

My friend Plantwoman posted this week about a semi-annual ritual we Houston area gardeners know well: the trimming of the trees. Unlike at Christmas, this is rarely a festive occasion or cause for celebration. The local electric company sends crews out to cut back trees that are growing too close to the power lines. These guys aren't much interested in artfully pruning and shaping: they're not paid to do an artistic job, just a utilitarian one. Like Plantwoman, I acknowledge the necessity of keeping power lines unobstructed and I appreciate the workers' efforts in the miserable August heat. Should we have a repeat of last September's hurricane, I'll be much happier if we don't lose power (the Head Gardener and I get cranky if we don't have a/c). It's not even my own trees that were butchered ... mangled ... decimated, but those of my neighbor across the alley. Still, the "borrowed" view is very much a part of my garden and I enjoy it as a backdrop to my own plantings. Or I did.

Here's how it looked Monday morning. The dark green tree festooned with pink coral vine (in the upper right quadrant of the picture) is a Bradford Pear; to its left but not quite visible, there's a pale pink Crape Myrtle.

This is the view today.

Here's a close-up view of what's left of the Bradford Pear tree. Pretty sad, isn't it?

Truthfully, I really don't know why my neighbors don't cut the whole danged tree down. Well, yeah, I do: it provides some shade from the afternoon sun, although I can't believe it's enough in proportion to the aggravation it causes. WHEN it has leaves, it's a very messy tree. I'll be interested to see how this one recovers from the whackness. And I believe I'll start looking for something to plant along my back fence to fill the empty spot. Too bad Grancy Greybeard (Chionanthus virginicus) is so messy, too. It's way too big for my back garden anyway.


Rose said…
Oh my, that does look sad! At our previous home, we had a couple of old trees growing right along the power line, and every few years the power company would come and trim them. How ugly they looked afterwards. As you say, they're more concerned with safety than with aesthetics. I agree, your neighbor might as well cut that Bradford Pear down. Twenty years ago, the Bradfords were planted in every new subdivision in town, but the last few years people have realized they are a messy tree and not suited to an area like ours with winter ice storms.

Glad to hear you've had some rain--it's raining here once again today--the weeds are growing out of control:)
I know that feeling. The power company tree manglers came through here this summer. Your neighbors should just toss in the towel, cut that mangy thing down, and plant something shorter.
I'm not thrilled to hear that Chionanthus virginicus is a messy tree. I have a baby one that has yet to bloom. I suppose it's not too late to yank it, but it will be the right height under the power lines.
Gail said…
It is a sad day for any tree to be hacked up like that~~even a Bradford Pear deserves better treatment! I don't see how it can recover in your drought.

Last spring I went to my favorite nursery and it stunk like dead fish. I asked if they had fertilized and was told that the Bradsfords were in bloom!

I envy folks who live in newer suburbs~~only for their underground power lines! If Nashville could bury them the city would be gorgeous again and they could stop brutalizing the trees.

What do you think you will plant?

LindaCTG said…
We've gone through this too. But I'm with you: trees over power lines are bad news. We watched our neighbor's tree hit a power line in a storm and set up fireworks. We were without power for 5 days in a very steamy September. But you would think they could be a little more sensitive on how to prune. Sorry about the neighbor's Bradford pear, but it needs to go. That kind of whacking will not be pretty.
I sympathize with all of this Cindy. The city has ruined lots of trees here in Dallas, but my Mother has been one to lose power due to storms, so I know it is somthing that needs to be done. You know my feelings about losing a tree...but look what happened to us. No power lines involved, just minor roof damage, but if I hadn't been so in love with that tree, I could have saved us some money. Wish I didn't get so connected to everything I plant! :)
beckie said…
I know cutting back the trees is a necessity, but even the power people must feel bad when they see how their workers leave some trees. Does it take longer to do it right? Is there less work involved?

I would at the very least send a letter of complaint to the power company and ask for some answers. Maybe even send them your before and after picture. How about a letter to the editor naming names(power company and subcontractors).

Okay, I've had my rant for the day. :)
Ramble on Rose said…
Geez, that is ridiculous! I wouldn't expect the power company employees to be arborists, but come on! That Bradford is just depressing!
OMG, I can't believe what that poor tree looks like now. The same thing happens to my sister's borrowed view (she's in Houston). It's necessary but painful. I've actually gone out and made suggestions to the guys who do the whacking on my street. Usually they can handle the suggestions (thankfully!). But it shouldn't have to be so hard.
JamesA-S said…
Murphy's Law decrees that heavy pruning of neighbouring trees that you like ends in their early death.
Whereas heavy pruning of neighbouring trees towards which you harbour evil thoughts always results in their growing twice as vigorously!