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Another Tree Bites the Dust

February 25, 2013

Our neighbor proceeded with cutting down a tree next door, and we’re a little in shock, a bit in mourning, and struggling to see the silver lining. When I heard the chain saws firing up just as I was preparing to head down to the opening day of the 2013 Northwest Flower and Garden Show, I decided I better stick around and stand guard of anything on my side of the fence. With camera in hand, I watched three guys take the life of a healthy Portugal Laurel next door.

Garden with Portugal Laurel

An early spring 2012 view of our garden including the Portugal Laurel

Let me clarify: this was three guys, two trucks, multiple chain saws, one rake, a blower and a stump grinder. None of them or their equipment indicated there was a certified arborist among them. And given the job they did cutting all the low branches off  and re-topping suckers on the pear tree in the back garden, I’m fairly confident in assuming this was just a bunch of dudes who know how to fire up power equipment and then kill with it. So, within about an hour they had slaughtered the tree and turned it into a driveway, demolished bird habitat, and completely changed our garden’s exposure.

Garden without Portugal Laurel

A Late Winter View of the garden now that the Portugal Laurel is dead & gone

Okay, so trees get taken down. It happens. In some ways, I’m really sad to see this one go. As an evergreen Portugal Laurel, it provided a lot of privacy for our property, and it blocked a really obnoxious street light that now shines right into our living room unless I drop the shades. Too, it was the home to many songbirds. It provided protection and food for them.

But, that food-for-wildlife benefit was one of the things I also didn’t like about the tree. The blooms, which hummingbirds and bees adore, meant a week of being trapped inside or suffering fits of hay fever I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. And, following pollination, the tree filled with messy purple fruits that dropped everywhere, sprouting where they landed.

So, we don’t have to worry about that anymore. And, our neighbor’s parking area is going to be a bit less muddy…at least for a while until the fresh chips start decomposing.

Chipped Tree as Parking Pad

Portugal Laurel ground into chips is now a parking pad; re-topped pear tree in the background.

Too, this tree happened to be just on the other side of the fence at our Southwest property line. That meant it blocked a lot of sunlight into our garden. So much so that our Crepe Myrtle hasn’t bloomed in a couple of years. Now we have high hopes for those beautiful blossoms come summer.

So, what to do when a tree like this is gone?

See it as an opportunity for change!


Grevillea: A variety of this winter blooming evergreen will become a new addition to our garden

I’m now on the hunt for some fun new evergreens (that won’t grow into huge trees) to plant along the fence line. Winter blooming Grevillea is on our list. Got suggestions you think would look great? Chime in!

1 Comment

  1. Ena Ronayne says:

    How strange that I should be reading this post at this particular time because on my fb page I have just uploaded some info on next weeks great event here in Ireland – National Tree Week


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