I’ve been driving through Richmond BC lately and have been struck by how many disastrously pruned trees there are. Most of them are pruned the way they are because they are interfering with utility lines/poles in some way.
So this post is a primer on how NOT to design with trees.
This is “my” tree–ie, on my property. But BC Hydro doesn’t really care whose tree it is, if they think it’s interfering with their lines (why don’t we have underground lines??), they chop chop chop. And the “arborists” who did the work… arggghhh!
Let’s look at some more: this one is around the corner,
Next we have a whole street of cherry trees, about 3-4 blocks of them:
So my point with all these disasters? CHOOSE YOUR SPOT. Big trees will grow big, and the utility lines don’t, so make sure your tree at maturity will be safe from the utility company.
Moving on to spacing:
These maples–I think they’re sugar maples–are planted about 12 feet away from one another. Now sugar maples reach 20-35 m tall and almost as wide. So if they even only get to 15 m across but there’s only 12 ft between them, none are going to be very happy. (Interestingly, around the corner the same townhouse complex has ornamental plums spaced much further apart– more like 20′ apart.)
Now about how close they are to the sidewalk (about 4′):
So again, big trees need big space. Before buying your tree, read the label, determine if there’s room in your garden for the mature size of this tree, and if not, please buy something else.
More about Spacing
These lovely Thujas (or Arborvitae) are all planted about 16″ apart. The mature size of even the smallest, narrowest Thujas is about 3′ (which I found out by Googling “mature size of Thuja”– remember, Google is your friend!) This is going to result in not only a lot of pruning, but quite a lot of dieback, as new growth keeps getting cut off. Even shrubs that tolerate a lot of pruning, like Boxwood, should still be planted with their natural mature size in mind.
Now I confess, this is not my preferred pruning style for Thuja, but look how healthy they are, spaced widely enough that they all get lots of light and air.
Trees are a wonderful investment, and a significant one as well, being not inexpensive. Do the best for your tree and your investment, make sure you’ve read the label, talked with the garden centre, and looked around to see a mature specimen of your chosen species before you buy. There are so many beautiful trees out there, certainly one perfectly suited to your unique environment.
Have you got a tree in the wrong place, are you having to prune, prune, prune, or is your walkway or driveway buckling with the vigour of tree roots? Leave a comment or question, and I think WordPress will also support leaving pictures (?)