Move it or lose it

One of the trees I was given and impulsively planted in the wrong spot was a Hinoki cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Gracilis’); a super sweet tree with deep green plumage and limbs spread like it’s stuck doing an interpretive dance. At the time it was given to us, by EB who happens to be the arborist in the family, it seemed like the best idea ever to plant it next to the house (quite close) on the back garden side. A few years later I planted a tiny alternate-leaved dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) on the lawn side of it because there was no other vacancy in the yard, and besides, I wanted to watch the dogwood’s birds from my bathroom window (à la Doug Tallamy). In the intervening years both plants grew. The dogwood far outpaced my expectations and the Hinoki has been no slouch growth-wise either (both are 10′ tall). Even though the Hinoki ended up half hidden by the dogwood, I could have kept living with those stoopid decisions for a while if Z and I hadn’t started talking again about putting in an outdoor shower. The Hinoki, we decided, had to go. But I didn’t want to lose it.

After consulting EB, who prudently suggested we wait until fall to move the tree, we prepped instead for a more immediate move by watering the tree for a couple of weeks, praying for rain (we got about an inch last week), identifying a new spot on the north side of the house, evicting what lived there (my beloved Rubus odoratus), and digging a hole.

The move this weekend took about 2 hours start to finish, which seemed quick to me but then I didn’t have to do much of the heavy lifting or cramped-quarters digging. Big thanks to EB and Z for all that. And so far, although both trees lost significant root mass, so good. I’ll baby both of them with mulch, plenty of water (the dogwood will eventually reap the benefits of shower run-off), and have promised to loosely tether the Hinoki to keep it from tipping over in the wind. I’m beyond grateful to EB for his expertise, hard labor after a heavy Sunday breakfast, and reassurances that all will be well.

Have you ever planted a tree in the wrong spot? How long did you wait before moving/losing it? Did it survive transplant and thrive?

Tree pose

Tree poseI can’t tell you how many times I looked out the window at my mostly-dead Mimosa and thought “I could just take that down myself”. Luckily, two things prevented me from making any foolish attempt: The only saw in my actual possession is a Silky Pocket Boy; and I have a friend/fake brother who owns a tree care business (WhippleTreeLLC, 508-55-trees – awesome website – and blog?- coming soon). For the price of a trade that I didn’t even have to fulfill (Z has the skills E was after), I had the pleasure of watching my beloved gay tree felled by a very skilled tree yogi. I freely confess that I have trouble doing anything resembling these yoga poses on terra firma without falling over. I would also like to make a note here that landscrapers – your average mow and blow joes – should generally not be allowed anywhere near your trees even if they’re willing to send an underpaid and under-educated employee out on a cantilevered hydraulic limb during a windstorm. Hire a professional arborist. It’s also worth considering that any arborist without a boom truck in their fleet probably actually still knows how to climb and will not turn down a job for being unable to get their truck near your tree. Any arborist worth the title should know how to prune without leaving cringetastic stubs and how to drop a tree without bouncing branches off of power lines, your house or your garden. Take it from me, hire a professional. They’re totally fun to watch.

mostly-dead gay tree (mimosa/silk tree - Albezia julibrisson) - before. triangle ladder pose squirrel posewarrior one chickadee poseside angle saw pose(spread) eagle posewarrior two chickadees (and no more tree)

Have you done the tree work yourself (confess it – I know some of you have) or have you hired a professional? Did you watch?