Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Garden, Week 4: I Kill a Tree

The deed is done. Do I feel bad? A little. Like writing in books, you're not supposed to kill trees, especially mature, beautiful trees like the one I just murdered.

Grinding the stump.

But, as mentioned in Part 1 of my garden saga, I had good reason. It was buckling the sidewalk, creating a trip hazard for the mothers and children that walk to the school across the street. Worst of all, though, it was located in the sunniest spot on the property and shaded the raised beds that Dave built, causing my tomatoes to look more like Charlie Brown's Christmas tree than the lush, heavy-bearing plants my neighbor grows.

I got the permit required by the city to take down the tree and had Joe Harrity of Harrity Trees, a respected tree specialist, do the deed as well as take out the arbor vitae hedge behind the beds and "limb up" our other parking strip trees. Of which we have five. Does that mitigate the damage?

Hedge removal (by hand!).

The one problem is that the city requires replacement of said tree within 30 days of removal, and I'd really like to reserve that now-empty and sunny bed between the two driveways for a vegetable garden. Plus, planting another 30-foot-tall "street tree" from their list of approved trees as required seems like it would buckle the sidewalk all over again. (Does anyone know if there's a way to get a waiver from having to plant another tree?)

So, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I throw myself on your mercy. It was a one-time thing, and it'll never happen again. Be kind in your judgement, I beg you!


Anonymous said...

I hear through the grapevine that the city of Portland just put in a garden at their office site. Surely putting in tomato plants will have no trouble in your fair city.

Glassylady in VV

kab said...

I know the city is encouraging gardens, which gives me hope. I've got a call in to the city arborist who approved the permit. I'll definitely keep you posted!

Alan Bluehole said...

What kind of tree was that? I have a love/hate with our two sweetgums, but mostly it's hate. They drop their leaves after the last sweep every year, drop gumballs some other time, make these annoying "asparagus" shapes, and I think they make little propellers too. But the green screen is nice. Still, some sun in the front yard in summer would be even nicer.

kab said...

It was an ash tree, as are all the trees that line our corner. Really great, easy-to-maintain trees; this one was just too confined for the space it had, and the sidewalk was its only "out."

Anonymous said...

If you have to plant a tree try a Persian Ironwood. They grow very slowly and don't get that big (tall)

kab said...

I know they're not on the city's official list of approved trees, but I'll check into it. Thanks!

M. D. Vaden of Oregon said...

Don't feel bad, we just removed 3 trees hovering over our driveway in Beaverton, dropping pitch on the vehicles, and cones which can turn ankles. We added better trees in better spots.

Can you enjoy the form of culumnar hornbeam? Rather moderate - may be on the city list. Very few trees if any really fit. The hornbeam just happens to be one of the narrowest. Tidy to the point of being a bit formal looking.

The sidewalk issue may not be identical or comparable. Depends. There are root barriers panels that can be installed. You may need to have the roots ground to accomodate them. They are generally slipped in a trench next to and parallel to the curb and the sidewalk, blocking roots.

The downside may be restricting some roots, but it extends hardtop longevity. Some cities from Medford to some Portland metro suburbs require them as part of the planting or re-planting process. The panels are pretty inexpensive, not counting the labor.

Good day,

M. D. Vaden of Oregon

Beaverton / Portland