Friday, May 29, 2009

Nathan rode the cherrypicker to remove dead wood from the Davidia involucrata

He looks almost Biblical up there doesn't he? There has been something going on with this tree for as long as I can remember (almost 20 years). Earlier this month it looked so bad I got crazy and just cut the ugly ends off of 5 or 6 largish branches. It was fairly effective visually except for the fact that I couldn't reach to top of the tree with the pole pruner. Two weeks later Nate cleaned up some of the mess I left by making better cuts and attending to the taller parts of the tree.

We have a number of other Davidias but only one of flowering size: the cultivar 'Sonoma' which (ha ha) flowers at about a foot. Normally, excepting 'Sonoma', it takes a great many years for a Davidia to flower so we don't want to sacrifice our most spectacular specimen from a highly visible location Moreover, it flowers heavily; it just looks ratty much of the year! Carole, in discussions with gardeners in China, learned that they occasionally cut the trees, even large ones, off at the ground, choose a likely sucker, and regrow from there. That seems a bit drastic for this tree though it does produce numerous and vigorous healthy suckers. A seedling from this tree planted itself alongside the road about 100 feet down from the mother plant. It's 20-odd feet tall now; maybe when it reaches maturity and begins to flower we can restart the older plant!

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