Extreme tree trimming

Yesterday I posted about trimming some mulberry trees. Today I will do some extreme trimming -- in fact, I'll remove most of three more mulberries.

These are all growing very near the back corner of my yard, and I'm not sure if they're on my property. They're probably in my neighbor's yard, but since 1) he'll be moving soon  2) this is way in the back where he rarely ventures  and 3) I know he doesn't care -- I'm just going to take them down.


Well, they're not coming all the way down, as you'll see shortly. Because of the sunlight, the partial shade, and all of the different types of small leaves in this area, it's not always easy to see exactly what is going on in these photos. Here's a closeup of the trees in question:

There are three of them growing right next to each other, and since they're helping to support my neighbor's deer food vines (I mean grapevines), I'll have to leave the lower 5' or so of trunks. The biggest problem with these trees is that they're blocking a lot of light back here. This is what I see when looking straight up:

And this is what I see when looking up and slightly to the south, where the sunlight should be streaming in:

Since I want to plant another bamboo here and the species I'm considering really likes full sun, I'll want to get as much light back here as possible. So up on the ladder with the bow saw and down come some limbs:

It's pretty quick work to get the first tree out (the one on the left in the photos above), and it's already opened up the sky a bit:

The limbs really start piling up:

Once I start on the bigger tree, things get a little more interesting. Besides being larger, there are wild grapevines growing into it:

(These aren't my neighbor's grapevines.) They are pretty troublesome, but they can be helpful too. Here they're holding up this large limb, keeping it from crashing down on my other plants:

Here I am yanking down the vines:

and here are some "action" shots of me cutting and removing limbs:

Those were taken by my "timelapse" camera setup. I'm not going to post the timelapse movie though, since I'm not happy with it. It doesn't clearly show the trees being removed -- there's plenty of activity, but its just too hard to see what exactly is going on. It was good practice though, and I did get some of these useful shots.

Anyway, after a bit more cutting, the sky above is as clear as I can get it:

The remaining branches are from this wild black cherry tree (Prunus serotina) that is growing next to my older bamboo planting:

I may remove it some day if it interferes with the bamboos too much, but I think it's tall enough that it's not going to be a big issue. I like having its bigger trunk here too -- it provides great contrast to the bamboos.

So here's the job finished:

I've left the trunks pretty tall at 5' or so (they're still taller than that in this photo). I may shorten them next year if they're no longer needed to support the grapevines, or remove them altogether. Removal would be ideal I think, because these are going to sprout again and I'll have to be removing those new branches all the time.

After picking up the area I decided to drag one of the potted bamboos into the newly-cleared spot to see what it looked like:

I can't say that it's overly impressive right now, but I think this will be a good spot to plant this Phyllostachys rubromarginata, although it won't have too much space to spread:

It doesn't look like  much -- it's actually quite hard to see the bamboo in this shot -- but with a few more culms it will look great! That will take a couple of years.  I may end up putting a different species here, but I'm 90% certain this is the one that will be planted.

Yesterday I mentioned that I was doing these projects because of our municipal chipping service, so I had to drag all of the limbs up the hill into the front yard. It ended up being quite a large pile of them:

The next day the city crew came around, feeding all of the limbs and branches into the chipper:

After a few minutes, all that was left of the mulberry trees was a scattering of leaves on the lawn:

I'm never happy about removing trees, as I think they're really the "kings" of the plant world, and no other plant can transform a garden like a large tree, but sometimes they just have to go. Plus if I have second thoughts, I'll have dozens of mulberry seedlings in my planting beds next year -- I can always nurture one of those and replant it here.

(The day I start planting more white mulberry trees is the day I need to give up gardening and take a nice, long rest somewhere.)

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