Absolutely amazing how just about any ... (uneducated person) with a chainsaw can call themselves a tree expert and be totally clueless as to the damage they are causing. And it is not just the trees, but all of the critters that depend on the trees that are lost. Perhaps your neighbor with a dislike of birds, trees, and other critters should live in a bubble for a while, and then maybe be taught a better appreciation of their music and color. My son and I have a great time attracting as many natives as we can, although I am tired of the squirrels and rabbits eating my veggies. Perhaps what disturbs me most is when trees and shrubs are cut down during breeding season, and I think about all of those unnecessarily lost babies and all the effort of the parents for naught. As for river birch being diseased, my son (now 6) also knows there is nothing wrong with them, and enjoys peeling off pieces of bark and using for them painting with pokeweed berries.
So here is a conondrum, though: My veggie garden needs some more sun because I have a pile of trees that have grown up over the years. So now what do I do to keep the garden productive? I have no where else to plant. I hate to do selective thinning of the tallest ones, but may need to either abandon veggie gardening (not likely), or remove trees (not wanting to). Tough decision.
Thinning of a tree would be my decision on that one. Or trees, if necessary.
We have trees over 100 feet tall in our yard. Oak and Norwegian Pine are the tallest ones. (Lost the largest Nor. Pine to drought) The Main Mama Oak is at least 8 foot wide at the ground. I see no harm in trimming up the branches on the tree, not only to allow sunshine to shine on my veggie and flower beds, but it does the tree good!! It will flourish. (plus it hangs over the house!)
I'm about to take out 3 Oak trees that are at least 80 foot plus tall, only because they are too crowded and fighting each other, weak until you get to the top. (Bare branches from "fighting for the sun". Believe me, if someone would have weeded in the past (50+ years ago), I would not be faced in giving a death sentence to a few trees to save the others.
(my son is one of the idiots with a chainsaw!) But with my knowledge, he is learning!!! He actually spotted some of the Ash trees in the back that were VERY diseased before me.
I was given the gift from nature of 2 Holly tree saplings, showing up in the pocket of Mama OAK, and one Blue Spruce sapling in my garden. They are my babies.(!!!!!!)(Touch and die!!! And I planted them for the future. Where they will not interrupt my garden, and I will not have to interrupt them. And future owners of this place, when I'm dead and gone, should not have to do anything with them, except when the tree expires by old age, like me. (I hope to have 40+ years to live here and watch them all flourish.
That story is very touching. I try to save every good plant that I can.
Question: You let your 6 year old handle pokeweed? (I know the history of this plant, so you dont have to go there when explaining). Just curious to why you would take a chance with this plant.
Lance...so good to hear from you.
Maybe the bubble is a good idea, but we would need a lot of bubbles.
As for the shade the trees lay upon your veggie garden, perhaps a bit of thinning of lower branches is the answer. I had to do the same thing to my favorite golden maple in the back yard...it was shading not only my white runners, but also my daylily patch back there. Part of the problem was the drooping branches that came following that massive ice storm last year, but all is well now, though I hated to cut even one branch.
Your son is a child of my heart. I painted sycamores, barns, chicken coops and my belly button with poke berry juice. If I'd had a river birch then, I would have painted on its bark, too.
Jen, it is great to hear from you as well. I like your attitude, it matches much of my own. Poke berries should not be ingested, true, but most children can be taught how to handle plants. I learned very early. I also grew up eating poke sallit in the spring, so there are times when it's safe to do so, but only with the knowledge that I was taught...and only with specific cooking measures. I am sure Lance has taught his 6 year old about toxic plants. Here is another article on that very subject, it is an old article, but it was the story of my first love affair with plants, and in this case, a toxic one.
I have two holly tree babies too, though one of them is about 18 feet tall now. Surprises, both...I also have two magnolias, one I planted from seed before I lost my wonderful old one, and the other was a surprise gift too. Nature has a way of running full circle if given half a chance. The gift of my baby oak is such an an example.
Thank you both for writing. I enjoyed your every word.
Thanks to both of you for sharing your thoughts, I will see what I can do with my trees. Since I am surrounded by natural forested area, clearcut probably about 30 or so years ago (before I ever came along, of course), thinning might be my best option. They are certainly a bit crowded, as the trees grew up as they wanted to wherever the seeds happened to sprout. I just need to make sure I get it done before nesting season starts. And the wood does not go to waste; I use it for firewood, woodworking, or leave it as food and cover for a variety of ground critters.
As for pokeweed, as Sharon mentioned, I prefer to teach my son to be responsible, and give him reasonable choices to make, as opposed to discourage or forbid something. Everyone makes their own limits, based on both their own comfort level and the child's abilities. As an example, I allow him to light and burn candles, but only on the brick hearth with me present. This works much better than having him experiment on his own when I am not aware of it. Overall, my son has shown his ability to make good decisions, and I increase his freedom accordingly. We also do a tremendous amount of outside activities, and he is getting good at knowing about all manner of outside ways. He can identify poison ivy, knows that greenbrier is a tasty spring time treat, and can walk through the woods better than most adults that I know. One other thing about pokeweed: the juice rinses off in water very easily, so anything decorated with that juice is easy to clean, whether you want it to come off or not, so it really is a good one to allow children that do not mouth everything to play with.
And as for the title of this thread, sometimes there seems to be no mincing words, so I call it like I see it.
Enjoy your trees, and have fun watching them grow.