The Things People Do to Trees

bad pruning at its worst

How do you like the trees in the above photo? They are zelcovas, and someone pruned them like this a few months  ago. I guess “prune” is an understatement. The limbs are now stumps –  fuzzy stumps with emerging foliage. There are three of these poor abused trees in front of a restaurant in Wakefield, Rhode Island. I get angry every time I drive by them. Why do people do this? Do they think it looks nice?

this tree is not happy

Then there are these poor little trees, planted by the RI Department of Transport. As you can see, they are already declining and probably won’t live to see next summer. And what’s with the stakes? Staking trees is a very bad idea, unless they are exposed to very high winds. Trees need to sway in the breeze to develop proper root systems. And the stakes and their accompanying ropes/arbor tape or whatever are almost always left on so long they constrict the tree as it grows and bite into the bark.

just take it down already!

Then there are  tree victims like this one. It always makes me wonder why they didn’t just go ahead and cut the poor thing all the way down. Who wants this in their yard?

Here is an example of those all-too-common pathetic “parking lot trees.” They are invariably badly planted, volcano mulched and suffering from crown die back. I always wonder how the owners can justify yanking out the dying ones and buying new trees every couple of years, when the new ones are destined to suffer the same fate. You’d think the cost alone would make them take better care of the trees they already have.

My final example of cruelty to trees is this property – or “tree graveyard.” The homeowners used to have mature trees throughout their yard. Instead of removing one or two, they had almost every single tree removed, leaving a forest of ugly stumps.  Ugh!

Please consult an arborist if your trees need pruning or other care. I think they deserve at least that much.


About dirtynailz

Writer for a daily newspaper, gardener, tree hugger, orchid-grower, photographer, animal lover, hiker, wilderness seeker. Proponent of clover in the lawn and a dog on the bed.
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7 Responses to The Things People Do to Trees

  1. gardenpest says:

    Poignant examples. Please add tornado mulching, which looks hideous, artificial, and silly. Mulch piled against the tree crown encourages pests, mold, and rodents. Mmmmm, also a waste of money spent on mulch and labor. Why landscapers continue to do this is beyond comprehension. There is actually an ANSI standard against this – explicitly.

    And large local offenders include URI, Kingston campus and towns.


    • dirtynailz says:

      I hear you. I guess I have just been seeing so many atrocities lately, I felt I had to get this off my chest.


  2. Pharmer says:

    Excellent pics and spot on! What are people doing!?


    • dirtynailz says:

      I think that in many cases, people do not know how to care for trees – and this includes most landscapers. I also think we (our culture) have a lack of appreciation of and respect for trees. The thing is, when trees are cut down or badly cared for, we all have to witness the destruction, so it affects us all..


  3. Great photos, I definitely have to agree with your article!


  4. Lib says:

    I just noticed those trees in your first photo and wondered why they pruned them that way. I think they are lucky they leafed out.


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