Of tree trimming, clipping your dog’s toenails, and cutting your hair

Garden Drama catalps blossom
The blossom of the catalpa tree comes out in early June or so. Fragrant and delicate, they make an orchid envious.

We  all look a little rough around the edges from time to time, and especially at the end of winter. Unkept and scraggly. Today, it was the trees in the yard’s turn for a trimming. A clean-up and renewal.

I will be the first admit. Our city lot is probably over-planted, with a catalpa and American cedar in the front yard and a pin oak and Japanese maple in the back. But, what is a boy who loves trees to do?

matt's tree service tree trimming
Pardon me, there's a man in my tree.

Though I am not a proponent of cramming your yard and garden with trees, I would rather err on the side of too many. They cool the earth, shade the house in the summer, and of course, provide habitat for birds, insects, squirrels (whom I love). And they create shady garden beds for hosta, heuchera, astilbe, fern, and all the great shade-loving plants out there.

But extra trees mean extra trimming, to keep them lean and healthy, and to keep them from encroaching on one another, as well as the eaves of the house. I gave Matt’s Tree Service of Minneapolis a call and they were out today. Late in the dormant season is the ideal time for pruning. The new spring growth will help seal the wounds and the leafless branches help you make your pruning decisions more easily.

In a typical year in Minnesota, the general rule of thumb is to have your trees trimmed by April 1, but all bets are off this year with the early spring. It is recommended to never prune oaks in April, May or June to help ward off oak wilt.

matt's tree service tree trimming
Pardon me, there's a man in my tree.

In addition to someone else climbing up the trees and doing the cuts, it’s helpful to have some pros come in and offer their expertise, as pruning is as much art as it is science. There are some general rules of thumb: remove branches that are crossing and rubbing each other, remove dead and damaged branches, and do not remove more than a quarter of the tree. Thinning out the crown of the tree allows for greater air circulation and more sunlight getting in. Limbing up the lower branches allows for more livable space beneath the tree. Beyond that, its a matter of personal aesthetics.

Next, this tree hugger needs to cut his hair and get his dog’s toenails trimmed.

pin oak garden drama
The backlit leaves of the pin oak tree is a stained-glass window in the garden.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. It’s nice to read an article from someone that actually knows what their talking about in terms of tree pruning-especially when to do it! You’d be amazed at the amount of trees we’ve seen ruined by non-experienced people claiming to have tree pruning knowledge. Trees take decades to build up and only seconds to permanently destroy or damage.

  2. Erica says:

    Cheers from one “tree-hugger” to another! On our 3/4 acre lot in a subdivision we have 18 trees :o) My friends think I’m crazy and fear they won’t be able to see my house in 10 years. LOL! But I tell them, it’s all about the pruning – if done properly, the trees will add grace, filtered light, structure, shade, and beauty to my yard! Now grow, baby, grow! 😉

  3. Erica says:

    We have Bald cypress’, Red Maple, Old Man’s Beard, Chickasaw Plums, Crape Myrtles, Queen Palms, Shumard Oaks, Red Buds, River Birch, Southern Magnolia, & Live Oaks 🙂

  4. Owner of a bunch of Japanese maples here, and I love every single one of ’em!!

    -Samudaworth Tree Service

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s