Pruning and designing ornamental trees in the everyday home landscape is just the tip of the iceberg as the cold weather wraps itself around us here in the northeastern part of the United States. Welcome everyone to the beginning of my 2011-2012 winter gardening log and landscape perspective.
If your curious how I may spin this article differently from others I have written on this topic, it’s simple. One plant demonstrated in two clearly defined pruning practices over a time period of at least 10 years. I leave it up to you, my readers, to figure out how this information will benefit you. The most important aspect of this and any article, is not just the reading of but also the practice of the techniques explained and demonstrated. The plant I am choosing to focus on for this article is the Weeping White Mulberry also know as Morus Alba Pendula. What makes this desciduous tree a desirerable demonstration plant is based on the diversity of how it can develop. Tall, short, thin or wide in stature, the Weeping Mulberry’s versatility as an ornamental specimen is clearly obvious. It all comes down to the commitment of the owner.
The pictures you will be viewing may be 4 different specimens all managed for different results. The goal of this article is to encourage those who appreciate gardens/landscapes to look at their planting choices with more of an artistic eye. Not just flower color, bark, leaf and fall colorations. The idea that a tree’s structure, from the trunk to the branches, have an architectural benefit to the surrounding area including the building(s). There are many places around the planet where trees loose there leaves for many months. When this occurs, as a designer I try considering how these pieces complement one another. Evergreens, woody ornamentals, hard-scapes, structures and deciduous trees like the Weeping Mulberry.
Lets begin with the choices we make or don’t make when looking to design and help develop the ornamental tree. This is where many people need to find someone to teach them the process of developing a tree as an artistic element in the landscape or higher someone who performs this work. When dealing with a young specimen, there are numerous choices to make with the knowledge that there are very few things that can go wrong. Always better to wait and see how some branches develop before removing them. Once a young tree has a number of main branches chosen to support the longterm design the art of architectural tree pruning really begins. The first three to seven years a young Weeping Mulberry may be pruned as often as every 5 weeks during the growing season. The benefits to pruning this often only begin to materialize upon the fourth year of a young plants life (a 3/4″ caliper at planting demonstrates a young Weeping Mulberry).
Please don’t be surprised if I don’t teach you how to cut a branch off a tree. This article is in my head and now in the web site to help others understand what can be done to extend the season of interests in our gardens and landscapes. Winter does not have to be bland and void of visual excitement. With a trees thoughtful placement on a path, along a driveway or out through a windows view, the color and structural framework of a tree can mesmerize the viewer. What is important not to forget is how the light in the winter landscape will reflect off and through your ornamental trees. I would also like you to know what direction the light moves around your property for you to benefit the most from your planting choices and plant placement. Too often designers will consider one facet, maybe two facets but not the many that go into the full spectrum of views that every property has the potential to display.
If you are lucky enough to find that designer who asks all the right questions and helps the properties plantings develop as intended, you need to consider the cost of this level of care before you begin. Many times people don’t consider the cost factors of managing a landscape and garden over many years and eventually fall victim to neglect and mismanagement. This unfortunately destroys the value of the money you originally invested and may cost you even more money to restore or replace. If this is you don’t worry about it now. You are not alone. The reality is most homeowners fall into this trap the first time out of the gate. The hope is, things weren’t neglected for too long or the things neglected where not the most expensive things installed. Either way the goal would be to stop the neglect and regain the value. At this point to go any further would be tedious. So I bid you farewell as I go and plan on pruning my large wisteria in the back yard tomorrow morning.
Happy Holiday to all and to all a good night.
Peace – Love – Hope – for whatever comes your way.