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Visit from the Tree Surgeon.


Today the tree surgeon came to coppice the three Poplar trees which grow against the stream wall in the side garden. Their species is Populus x jackii ‘Aurora’ and they are just beautiful when the new leaves arrive, as the leaves are green, cream and pink!

However, it was obvious when we moved here four years ago that they had been coppiced regularly. As I idea how to do this, we asked the advice of the tree surgeon we had found when a branch fell off the old Ash tree. Luckily for us, he lives locally and can pop round to talk to us and advise on any problems as well! He had a look round at various trees and shrubs and told us that the Poplars needed coppicing every two years, as did the Purple Hazel, to look their best. There was also a Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’ in the corner by the wooden bridge – which had never been cut back – so it draped elegantly (like its name!) over the stream wall right into the stream below! This should also be cut hard back every two years to show the beautiful red winter stems.

Well, he did the work for us – I was very nervous that first time seeing how hard he cut things back! He does know what he’s doing, though, and all was well in the spring when new shoots appeared. I was very reluctant to have the cornus cut back in February, but he was absolutely right once again – it has looked wonderful each spring. It needs pruning next February again – and I feel brave enough to tackle this myself! The Poplar coppicing, though…

I didn’t feel able to tackle this job! So today was the day – enter the pruning saw and its owner.

It is amazing watching a professional at work – I wouldn’t have dared to cut the Poplars back so hard. The pile of branches grew… and grew…

What a difference when he had finished! It all looks a bit bare…but this time, I have no fears at all that they will grow back in the spring!

The Poplar branches went into a chipper, but once the Hazel had been ‘done’, I kept the sticks to use in the garden as plant supports next year.

Now I can see the beautiful stone wall again – and I know that the Hazel will grow enough to look good for the garden opening in June. Well, it did it before, two years ago, after all!

So there we are – job done – great watching a professional at work, so quickly and correctly. I learn from our tree surgeon every time he comes. He took a piece of the poorly Eleagnus to look at under his microscope, to see if he can tell me what the problem with it is – but agreed that it has to go, as it will not recover. Sadly, too, he has not been able to source the replacement for the defunct Juniper from the top border – but as we talked it through over a coffee, I had a brainwave… I did a bit of ‘thinking outside the box’ (I think it’s called)…so watch this space!

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Actually you were lucky to have someone to advise you Spritz , we started our last garden from scratch as it was a field that we built on , we had kind friends that gave us plants/trees etc the lovely Poplar tree was one of them , they grew huge , we didn,t know that you should coppice them , the root system undermined and dried the soil out of anything anywhere near them , in the end I planted the area with primroses snowdrops , anything wild and left it like that , I think it was one of my favourite spots in the spring and those poplar leaves did look wonderful .......

Ever since then I have been a bit ruthless with the saw , my husband always says .. " that will never recover " but they always do ...LOL

3 Dec, 2008


I have a tree surgeon booked in for the end of January as several things have put on a lot of growth in the last two wet summers.
spritz - you may find your hazel slow to start next year but it will come again.
There is always the temptation with the cornus to 'leave it just one more week' to enjoy the stems but then you find it is in full leaf and it is too late to cut it back. It really needs to be done just as the new shoots are showing green

3 Dec, 2008


We were very lucky, Amy. A branch fell from the top of the old Ash tree - anyone coming into the garden to get to the house has to walk under it - so we had to find a tree surgeon ASAP. Ours was found by word-of-mouth, and has turned out to be a gem.

You are the only other person who has had this lovely tree!

Yes, Andrew - I do remember that the Hazel was a bit slow - but that's OK as long as it does re-appear! And the Cornus - I learned that it has to be 'chopped' very early in the year! Thanks for the reminder. I'll put it on my calendar.

3 Dec, 2008


Spritzhenry ,

It always amazes me how few people utilize an expert tree pruner. I hold myself as being one. In Bonsai, or in any tree-work there is wonder to found when a good job is done. My personal nitpick, being that people allow their magnificent plants to bunch up and be crowded. The Japanese had a saying in the pruning of the Camellia. So that a bird could fly through it.

Sometimes, pruning out of the normal guidelines can also make a huge difference. My own cases being some old Pieris and Enkianthus that I opened up. They now look like they are 100 yr. old specimens. Allowing trunk structure to come through made all the difference.

One friend of mine has a very old Weeping Hazelnut. It is a gob of a mess. I grit my teeth every time I see it. This has become a 100.00 tree when it could easily be a 500.00 showpiece.

Another example of doing wrong. Someone pruned a clump of birch. Usually one leaves them alone. I wouldn't describe it as coppicing, but it was close. Much was topped, and all the cuts were to downward facing buds. Eventually these birches ended up looking like some spooky Halloween or Ichabod Crane landscabe. Well done, I thought!

Not followed up, they turned into a hideous mess.

4 Dec, 2008


I agree with you Spritz - it's scary to see how far back a tree surgeon will cut! In our garden in Essex we had a large tree (can't remember its name!) which, due to the proximity of other houses and rather mean little gardens, gave us privacy from several houses. The TS cut it back to a 10' trunk with a few stubby cut-down branches, leaving us feeling horribly exposed every time we went into the garden or even looked out of a window. But, true to his word, it flourished the following year giving us back our privacy and I was so impressed with his work I left his card and a glowing reference for the new owners when we upped sticks and started this adventure. Look to the Spring!

4 Dec, 2008


What a Diffence Indeed Spritz :) How u load pics when their all growing again :)

4 Dec, 2008


It does look rather drastic but it will be nice to see the new growth next spring.
I like the wall too.

4 Dec, 2008


Now I shall have to clear out all those leaves from the Hazel - I bet there are slugs and snails hiding under them! It looks a bit untidy at the moment.

We had torrential rain last night so they are also very, very soggy! :-(

4 Dec, 2008


Looks so different with them down,i also like your wall.

5 Dec, 2008

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