Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Friday, September 11, 2009

Could You? Would You?

Gratuitous photo of my new favorite zinnia color! Seeds are going to be saved!

I've been thinking about cutting down a tree.
Not a radical thought by any stretch of the imagination!
But for me~~a tough one.
My thoughts go something like this!
"It's a tree~~a gift of nature, it provides home and shelter for critters.
How can I cut down their home!"
and quickly move onto...
"This is permanent; once done,
there's no going back! It's expensive! Are you sure?"

Let's take a look ~~
Here's a favorite view ....
it's a zoomed shot from the porch steps.
(I love sitting on the porch and looking out over the Susans' Kingdom!)
It's the view my brain composes.
When I look out into the garden,
my brain erases buckets, hoses or empty pots.
I don't see them
until I look at the shots on the computer!

Let's move the camera just a little to the left~~You'll see what is actually in the shot! There he is!
Celtis occidentalis, the Hackberry; a native tree.
The birds love the tiny little fruits.
The hundreds, if not thousands,
of seedlings that germinate all over the place are certainly proof!

The long shot!
It's been limbed up so that folks can walk on the path
and to allow more light into the garden~
But, that just makes it look more like a utility pole!
We have several across the front of the property!
You can see it's twin in the photo.

Here's the front view!
It is so the same color as all the rest of the utility poles!
I have to do something about the Cup Plant!
By the way...see the hose? Never noticed it!Hackberries are really lovely trees~~
straight and tall, with a wide, spreading canopy.
Ah...there's the rub! That spreading canopy is shading the sunny Susans bed more and more!
Lately they've been practically lying down in search of the autumn sun!

Could you? Would you? Should I take down that tree? gail

PS Just for Fun! Here's what several neighbors have done to trees in their yards!

This is actually two carved trees; right around the corner from our house. The story is that the song writer's (for a famous southern rock band) guitar was stolen and when it was returned, he was so grateful that this sculpture was commissioned! The clue to the band is in the sculpture!

This next one is fantastic!

It must have been a wonderful tree~~much like the one nearby.

It's in the backyard of a grand house.
The country club opens it's golf course to neighborhood walkers every Monday~~and there is was!

It's really quite nice....
while I was looking at it,
several blackbirds flew in and out of a hole in the 'tree'.

I couldn't resist showing you this marvelous piece from the same yard!

Have a delicious weekend. g


  1. I think you're right, Gail. I would cut it down too. You'll have plenty of trees left over, after all, and it will make a nicer view to have that spot open.

  2. You live next to Lynyrd Skynyrd?! Well! I, Live next to Sheryl Crow!!! So there!....just kidding! My chiropractor a long time ago had a carved angel tree, it was really hard to miss her place!!

  3. I ate to cut a tree but sometimes drastic measures have to be taken. I cut it.

    I'm not much for tree carving but that one really is fantastic.

    But for me the rock arrangement stole the show. I'm going to steal the idea and do at least one for myself. All I can say is wow. I want a collection of paws

  4. You have an option ... lucky you! In Mumbai, its illegal to cut trees. Even if its one you've planted yourself. You've got to have a real good reason (as in, it'll fall on your house any minute) and then you've got to wait for permission from the local Tree Authority! All this for a tree I grew and nurtured myself.
    Aaaargh... red tape!

  5. Wow, that is quite a brush with celebrity you have.

    Gardening is all about encouraging and nurturing some plants, while culling and discouraging others - including trees. If it needs to go so be it.

    I like your neighbor's sculpture also. You may have seen it, but in a post I did last month is a picture of an elaborately sculpted dead cottonwood. Look at picture #4.

  6. The tree doesn't look right or happy being limbed up so much. I say cut it part way down and make a sculpture out of it.
    My guess is also Lynyrd Skynyrd.

  7. I say go ahead and cut it. But do make a wonderful sculpture like your neighbors have done. Those are beautiful!

  8. I love hackberries, Gail, such beautiful trees (when they don't get leaf galls). I remember them fondly from my childhood home in Nashville. I also love clever sculptures (and Lynyrd Skynyrd); there are two elaborately carved gnomes in trunks near us, and not too far away, a fabulous totem pole. But I think you should cut this one to the ground, enjoy the firewood, and put up a sculpture (like that wonderful stone hand) when, where, and if you want to.

  9. Plenty of trees, not so much really cool yard art! Cut it and sculpt it!

  10. Wow! Those black-eyed Susans are beautiful! You have a lovely garden. In regard to the tree, I think I would cut it down. Imagine the photo without the tree and it is still beautiful. You have many trees surrounding you. :) What a pretty view!

  11. I have a hard time cutting down trees too but a hackberry makes it easier. We have a large grove of these behind our garage and along our property line and they do provide good shade but they are also extremely messy and this time of year the aphids cover them and cover everything with the black sooty stuff.

  12. Thanks everyone...It's coming down! I actually have a really cool inuksuk at the base of the tree....You'll be able to appreciate the stone man when the tree is gone!


  13. You've already made up your mind so I don't have to vote...but I would have voted for cutting it. The susans in this case win.

  14. Dear Gail, the trees must go, but you already knew that. Those sculptures are mesmerizing! How are the toes held in place on the big rock? Could you see it? While you're at it, maybe you could get a better deal on several trees coming down at the same time. They will do that sometimes since it costs them money to bring the equipment to a place. More profit to take down several trees rather then one or two. Just saying. :-) HA

  15. Cutting down trees does not bother me because we plant other ones. I think it is not in the right place for your garden. and....your neighbors have given you lots of inspiration!!

  16. I would cut the tree. I'm sure that with everything else that you have going on in your garden, I'm sure the critters will just relocate to another tree that is close by.

    You have a beautiful garden, btw.

  17. I think you have more than enough other natives and trees for wildlife. Besides, you're always talking about wanting sun! Maybe you can have a little ceremony for the tree thanking it for what it's done before you have it cut. (You know, in your own head is ceremony enough.)

  18. Next time I go for a walk on the golf course...I am going to try to get a closer look at the stone sculpture...The artist must have drilled into the toes and foot and inserted rods to hold them together!

    There are one or two other trees that should come down...so I'll look for a good package deal!


  19. ugh a hackberry- the Nashville gardeners arch nemesis tree- let the critters move and cut it down before
    it topples onto the house, lol.

    Plenty of trees that wont ruin the garden, spring up in the gutters,
    your pots you left over winter, or give you blisters trying in vain to pull out the ones you missed last year by the root and having them snap
    at the base only to spring back
    again and again until you give up
    and just prune it into a shrub like so many people in our
    hackberry filled city have done.

    i hate hackberries does it show? lol

  20. You have so many nice trees - I wouldn't feel bad about taking out one, especially if it makes the Susans happier.

    That sculture looks kinda like a bunch of ripe bananas.

  21. IF I had several other of the same tree, IF I knew a sculpture that could do something unique with the stump, IF I could afford it. I might cut it down. Depends on which day you would ask me.

  22. Gratuitous orange - marvelous. After listening to the AHS webinar by Doug Tallamy this week on growing natives to sustain wildlife, I'd definitely have second thoughts about gassing up the chain saw, but since you've got more of the same variety - and it is starting to look more like a utility pole - I'd be inclined to send you a gallon of gas and a good looking man in overalls. Best wishes, Barbarapc

  23. Get the chainsaw! :-) As long as you plant more flowers instead of paving it with asphalt, I have no problem with tree removal.


  24. I would struggle with such a decision too. If you decide to cut it down, just make sure to plant another native tree (or maybe two) at another location on your property.

  25. oooo you could plant a pecan or a hickory, i am harvesting shagbark hickory nuts now and they have the most wonderful flavor, like a pecan with maple flavoring added- naturally! you could get some paw paws growing, i just harvested those as well, and dont forget persimmons!
    i always think if your going to plant a tree it should be something useful to yourself and the wildlife around you.

  26. Sounds like it needs to go...especially if you have to keep trimming it up like that. Love how creative some of your neighbors are with trunks & rocks! ;)

  27. Those black-eyed Susans definitely need more sunshine to advance their kingdom!

  28. I'd cut the tree too. The Susans need their sun!

    It's funny, my mind's eyes edits all sorts of extraneous things when I look at the garden too. :)

  29. Dear Gail - I share your dilemma and seeing you're finally going to do something about your tree, perhaps I should take courage and do something about my 2 overgrown trees!

    Have a great weekend :)

    Love the sculptures, perhaps you could get one thrown in with your package deal? Our local arboretum has a tree festival each year, which has a chainsaw sculpture competition (called Sculptree)as one of its central features!

  30. I would have a hard time cutting down any old tree, but I see your dilemma, and I think you've already made up your mind. If this were an oak tree, I would definitely say no. We have a hackberry that isn't that attractive, but it's far away from bothering the garden, so it will stay. I love the second tree sculpture; what a cool addition to your garden something like that would make. Wow! You live next door to one of the members of Lynyrd Skynyrd??

  31. Gail girl those are huge trees ! No wonder you don't see any sun .. and the similarity to utility poles .. I see your point .. I just don't know either .. there are so many points on each side to whether or not to cut this down .. where did you plant "Grace" ?
    I loved those carved trees and the five finger thing was too cute : )
    Joy : )

  32. Man oh man, I really like that tree sculpture! That is a great post.
    I see you have decided to cut the tree, that was my vote, too. I have a cherry laurel ( I think) in my back yard that needs to go. It drops messy berries and send up babies everywhere!

  33. Yes, yes, cut down the tree. You'll have a better view (the one you see in your camera's eye, and you will have a bit more sun too. You have many, many more trees, and you plant lots of wonderful things for the birds.~~Dee

  34. I'm so glad I don't have to make that decision! I would have a very hard time. I love the sculptures--the wood ones as well as the stone--awesome!

  35. I know how you feel, I had to cut a black olive tree in the front of the house, my reason was the tree was getting too tall and it was dangerous for hurricane season, to make it up to mother nature I planted a new one much smaller.

  36. well you already made your mind up and i think you are right. it does look out of place. your susans will thank you for years to come. really cool idea for trees to be sculpted like that.
    we love rock men being dh is from cananda...keep thinking we will build one....one day.
    happy september sunday.

  37. I think you made the right choice!

  38. I second your plan (or 38th it ;) Gail. Those tree sculptures, and the paw are pretty cool.

    I can relate to the angst about taking out a tree. It looks like all the reinforcement in the comments may have helped with that!

    Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

  39. Well, if it really bugs you, and if there are more, why not cut it. But in that case, I'd just cut it and be done with it. The Susans will love you and bring insects, which the birds like. Why not.

    A whole neighborhood of dead tree sculptures doesn't seem appealing to me. Actually, even two might be too many...;->

  40. I'm all for cutting down trees if you want to... I don't think that they should be inherently sacrosanct! That said, I am not a big fan of Susans... lol... so my vote is to keep the tree. ;)

  41. Gail,
    Glad you know what you are going to do. I agree... the susans win out on this one... you can always replace the tree by planting a more desirable one in a more desirable spot. Take one, give one.
    Interesting sculptures but not a fan of them for most gardens.
    Meems @ Hoe and Shovel

  42. Cut it down and don't look back! Time to make it firewood. Great long shot of the susans'

  43. ha. Good thing you've already decided and aren't needing my vote. In light of all the chain sawing that's been taking place around my property lately, I would have said not to cut it. But maybe that's just my state of mind lately....

    I'm sure you made the right decision. It is you afterall that looks out at this view and knows what you want to see.

  44. I wouldn't have a hard time at all making that decision. When trees get planted by nature, they are sometimes too close together to grow well. You have lots of trees, so cutting one down is not going to be harmful.

    I have been planning on doing a post about our neighbor down the block, who uses chain saws to carve wood. He makes eagles like the one of your neighbors has, and a number of other things, like bears and such. He also has carved cool things from trees in people's yards. I have some trellises he and his mother in law made when he first started this venture, and I bought one of his carved stumps for my husband when he retired. (I call it a career change, because he knew going into it, he'd have to continue to work.)

    I'm glad most of the other commenters were supportive of improving life for your Susans.


"Insects are the little things that run the world." Dr. E O Wilson