Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Wednesday Workday ... or Archaeology for the Urban Gardner

A freak storm blew thru last Thursday night - many of you got pieces of it, too.  Sadly, it took down our beloved plum tree.  

It was the first tree that we planted and had flourished for 16 years - even providing plums last year.  It had survived both Isabel and Gaston and a derecho last year, but something was different this time and over it tumbled. 

Our "tree man" has complained about it for years - he thought it was too close to the house (12 feet) and is sure that it had weak roots on that side and that's why it fell.  We thought it was a perfectly wonderful source of shade for the deck and loved the look of the red leaves against the yellow house.  Guess i need to find a good picture to frame and let it be a good memory. 

No matter what we do in the future, we have to get the roots out before we can do anything.  We may end up calling someone with a "stump eater" to just grind it up, but first we are trying to do it ourselves.  The tree man thought he was being helpful when he pushed the stump back into the ground and raked the dirt back around it - or, maybe that's just the professional way for him to clean up a job.  We would have preferred that he leave it alone, since we have had to dig out the dirt again to get to the roots. 

Normally, i spend about an hour each morning hoeing out dirt from the roots, and then Mitchell comes back later and cuts off as much as he can.  As you can see ... we have a long way to go.

But it's also an opportunity.  This has always been a shady place, but if we take the tree man's advice and not replace the tree, it opens up the space for another shrub and perennial border.  I think i need to go thru my class notes and look for shrubs and plants with long bloom seasons and fragrance - and things that we don't yet have somewhere else.  

If you don't have shade, at least you should have fragrance.  Don't you think?


  1. I agree! Fragrance is a plus. What about a wisteria? I would love to have a pergola draped in wisteria. I have too much shade. Stay cool and hydrated.

  2. Oh dear! I read about the flooding and wondered if you were affected. What a pity! Stump grinding does work ..., are you in a hurry to put something else in its place or are you thinking it will send up suckers?

  3. I'm so sorry to read about your plum tree. It looked like it was in the perfect spot. Me? As tedious as it may be, I'd dig up the roots. They'll always be in the way of anything that you want to plant. I wish I was nearby. I'd give you a hand. I'm sure you'll find the perfect replacement.

  4. Dear Webb,
    So sorry to hear about the loss of your beautiful plum tree. There's NO such thing as "too much shade," Imho. Southerners and East Coasters are so spoiled that way. Out here, we treasure every scrap of shade & the cool feeling it brings. How about a Linden tree?
    Gorgeous, heart-shaped leaves, fast growing, lovely clusters of yellow flowers in Spring and a delicate yet all-infusing fragrance. The perfect tree.

    Good luck, Diane in Always- Needs
    Shade Colorado

  5. P.s. Those tree guys really annoy me. All they ever want to do is over-prune, take trees out and cut them down. Why didn't they go into demolition instead?! I hope you do get a few suckers and can slice them off and try to start a couple of new trees. Your Horticulture professors might have some good suggestions; ditto the staff at that lovely Botanical Garden near you.