Pruning Time

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It’s been two years since we’ve seen them. They came with all their equipment. They stood below, studying  the intricate structure of the maples. They had been given orders: remove crossing/rubbing limbs and excessive sprouts, subordinate prune co-dominant leads for better structure, reduce longer limbs for weight and vase structure.  Those words meant nothing to me, but they had a vision of what needed to be done.

Nimbly, they climbed into the trees. Cautiously they snapped safety ties, just in case. Higher and higher each man scaled the tree. As I watched the dance in the trees, I couldn’t help but think of the lyrics,

“He’d fly through the air with the greatest of ease,

That daring young man on the flying trapeze.”



Once they had reached their highest point, small limbs began to rain down to the yard. The thicker branches hit the ground with a “thud.” A man on the ground raced to collect the discarded branches. A machine hungrily devoured limb after limb, each one became a pile of mulch. Sawdust shimmered in the light below as the chainsaw buzzed like an angry wasp. It didn’t take long to prune the two red maples.









The last bit of pruning was my peach tree. I had been warned it needed to be reduced by half. Yes the limbs were too high for us to reach the peaches. Yes, the peaches were too heavy for the branches. Yes, the peach tree is fighting for sunlight with the arborvitae trees beside it. But . . .  it was still a shock to see how much had to be pruned.











Even though I knew it had to be done, it was sad to see it happen. I will be surprised if we have any peaches next summer.

Hopefully, all this pruning will extend the life of our trees for many more years.

14 thoughts on “Pruning Time

  1. I think of pruning often when it comes to my writing life. I wonder if you went through a bit of a pruning process from June – December? It seems that your writing life is back full force. I think pruning is as good for writers as it is for trees…and probably just as painful. So glad you are making it a habit again to write “the small things that count.”

  2. WOW! Those branches don’t look big enough to support those men. The change is drastic, but, come Spring when leaves and new growth begins you will be happy you did it. You’ll be even happier when the peaches arrive!

  3. Holy crap, that peach tree got scalped. It must have killed you. As a gardener, I well know the pain of chopping a bush to knee-height. But I am always amazed at how much healthier it looks the next season. You’ll feel better when you see the new limbs.

    I had trees pruned yesterday and I practically had to order the arborist to cut branches away from the power lines. “I know you just want to protect the tree,” I said, “but power to my house during an ice storm is the priority.”

    Maybe you’ll hack those arbor vitae next….

  4. Nature teaches us everything we need to know. Sometimes it’s necessary to cut out the “unnecessary” in order to spring forward with new vigor. I wish I could apply that lesson to my own cluttered life! Your trees will love you in the spring…and even the peach tree will thank you down the road. Cheers to you for the holidays!

  5. That’s a big job! My favorite line from your blog is— A machine hungrily devoured limb after limb, each one became a pile of mulch. What a great description of the work being done! Thank you for sharing!

  6. When we had our trees and bushes pruned last year Kathy was heartsick when she saw what they looked like. However, they came back and look better than they have in a long while. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  7. Terje says:

    It had to be done. You had professionals doing the job. But I understand how looking at the pruned tree can hurt the heart. I hope that the tree will be stronger and healthier next year and carry plenty of peaches.

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