Lessons from the Arborist

Backyard photo with a Pin Oak tree

Buying a home in an established neighborhood is great because of the mature trees. There are a number of them in the yard and we knew right from the start that they hadn’t been properly maintained in many years.

The various sucker branches growing every which way was our first clue to their lack of maintainence. We decided to call in an arborist for a professional opinion on what to do with the trees. We are so glad we did, little did we know what was growing in our yard!

When we bought the house, we decided to take down a couple of trees in the back yard. Not only were they over grown but they took up the entire space leaving us with a full shade property.
Our lone maple tree would be the first to go (in the back corner of the lot), it was on the property line too close to the neighbors garage and killing all the lawn in its shadows. The biggest problem with this tree, is that is was inhibiting the growth of the other tree in the back yard. We hate the idea of chopping down trees, but with a small yard and awkward location of the tree, it just wasn’t practical to keep it.

The other tree in the back yard which you can see in the photo was some type of maple, however it surprised us the most. It turned out to be a Pin Oak, a rare find in Wisconsin. In addition, this tree is protected by law. We can only trim it at certain times of the year, and removing it is out of the question since it’s a protected species. Who knew? We had no idea. So glad that the arborist really knows his stuff! We will trim the tree in the fall according to law, and hope that it will continue to grow to it’s full potential.cherry blossoms

The other problem was what do with the fruit trees. We have both a cherry and an apple tree in the yard. Unfortunately, they both have been unattended for a long time and reach far, far to close to the neighbors house. They should have been trimmed back long ago, but if we do it now, they should still produce some fruit, we hope! The cherry tree is almost as tall as the house, that’s a long stretch to do some fruit picking! The arborist can reshape the tree so we can still get future growth and fruit from it. Not sure what sort of cherry it is, I sure hope it’s a sweet variety!

North facing apple tree and cherry trees

The apple tree has many dead limbs among it’s blossoms. It also has a “sucker” tree growing up inside it’s trunk. Usually sucker trees are expendable. They grow from the roots of the tree and should be trimmed back to keep the tree growing well. We contemplated cutting it out our selves, but soon thought better of it for fear that it would kill both trees instead. The sucker however, was apparently another apple tree grafted into the middle of the first, so it would produce two different varieties of apples. Apparently this was a popular thing to do in the 1950’s, little did we know!

Unfortunately, the arborist fears the apple tree is already dying, that it’s hollow inside and will not last much longer. It poses a huge liability to us, being between two houses, and we need to remove it. I am dreading cutting it down.

cherry blossoms indoors

The trees are now in full bloom. It breaks my heart to know that we have to trim them, and cut down the apple tree completely. I refused to let the arborist come and trim the trees until we had been able to experience the blossoms at least once. They are so perfect and lovely. I will miss having them outside my living room window.

It was well worth our time and money to hire a professional for this job. Had we tried to do some of this work ourselves, we would have made all sorts of wrong choices. We plan to be here for a long time, so it is worth the investment in hiring a pro. I will post more before and after pics, as he is coming back to begin the trimming this week.

More to come!


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