I recently bought my first house and have two evergreen trees on the
front corners of the house that dont look so great. I dont think
they've been trimmed for some time and was wondering if some of you
would give me some suggestions. What would you do with them?
Pictures - http://www.dimensional.com/~rotaour /
Cut them down. They are seriously overgrown, and trimming is not a good
option. If they are yews, you *could* trim them on one side severely, wait
till it fill in a bit, trim the other side, but it would take years to get
them looking good. If they are anything other than yews, severe trimming
will most likely finish them off.
It may seem harsh and drastic, but believe me, you will feel a sense of
relief once they are out of there and you can replace them with more
appropriate choices. Don't spend years living with the past homeowner's
Zone 6, South-central PA
They look very much like Taxus baccata Fastigiata. Irish Yew. These can be
cut back as severely as you wish and will quickly re-grow and thicken to any
shape you wish. They make excellent specimens for topiary. These were the
Yews that provided the 'Long bow' of history.
You will find the wood very hard to cut.
Best Wishes Brian.
Congratulations on your new home.
If they are yews, you could drastically cut them down to the ground, but yes,
you'd have to be a bit patient for them to grow back. The foliage looks a bit
airy; it's possible they are old junipers or arborvitaes that have been
continually sheared. I don't know what they do when you cut them to the
I would enjoy the hack to the ground experiment to see if regrowth occurs. If
they renew, great, if not, then since they're on the corners of the house, I
think I would remove them and expand and round the beds to 'wrap' the corners
of the house more. Then I would plant a mix of small ornamental trees,
deciduous and evergreen shrubs, and perennials/annuals/bulbs.
Since you don't like them, I would first trim them to the size you want. If
they live, then you have a couple of more desirable plants. If they don't,
you can remove them without any regrets. My guess is that you will end up
having to remove them. In the mean time, browse your local nurseries to see
what is available to replace them. You might consider just removing them
without any replacement in the short run. I think it would improve the look
of your house if they were removed. In fact, I would remove all the shrubs,
not just the tall ones. I think it would look better if you worked some
curves into the landscape plan. Your house is very angular and would
benefit from some sweeping curves to soften the lines. There is a
disconnect between the house and the street that could be bridged by
redesigning the beds. This would make your house look more inviting. Your
front door is hard to find and would benefit by being better defined. A
curving walk from the street to the door would draw attention away from the
garage door which is dominating the front of your house. I might make the
garage door a little darker and the front door lighter. Maybe its just the
picture, but the awning or porch roof over the front door looks like it is
floating and would benefit from making the supports more apparent. This
could be by painting the supports, attaching something like lattice or
replacing them with more substantial columns. I would also consider adding
some visual weight to the side of your property opposite of your garage.
There is a lot going on in the garage area (garage door, front door,
windows, awnings) and nothing on the other end. This gives one side of the
house a lot of visual weight and makes it look unbalanced. Putting in a
tall specimen plant somewhat away from the house on the right side would
help balance it and would be an anchor for a new bed on that side.
Thank you everybody for your suggestions. I pretty much wanted to get
rid of them but wasnt sure if this was a good idea. I hold a degree in
applied arts so I have a good sense of composition, but since I havent
done any landscaping before and know little about landscaping
horticulture I was a little intimidated and didnt want to destroy some
trees that might actually be perfectly workable and leave my house
sticking out blandly.
And Vox, thank you for the expanded evaluation on the aesthetics. I
kinda always wanted to remove all the shrubs and plant some xeriscape
plants in some nice curvy beds. And yes, it does look pretty heavy on
the left side, I'll have to do some research into what I'll like that
can counter that.
Can you all give me any pointers on the best way to remove these?
Should I just chop them off just under ground level and leave the rest
or should I actually dig up the bulk of the roots?
On Mon, 03 May 2004 11:19:46 -0600, rotaour@dimensional(.)com wrote:
I think removing them will be a challenge. Definitely DO NOT just cut the
off at the ground. You will only be delaying part of the job. I would dig
them out. If you think your vehicle is up to the task, you could attach a
rope to them and pull them out. I have seen this done on TV, but I don't
know if it the smart thing to do.
On 5/4/04 7:10 PM, in article x2Ylc.27357$ firstname.lastname@example.org,
Digging them out can be a fair amount of work but if you decide to do it
here is what I know about it.
1. Dig your hole around the tree far enough away from the tree so that
you can actually get in the hole to cut under the tree...you want to cut off
as many roots as possible all the way around. So you will need a wide hole.
2. Having a 5ft high stump will provide lots of leverage in rocking the
tree once you have removed lots of the roots. A strong rope tied to your
vehicle will surely give you the pull you need.
BUT.... some trees are easier than others to remove. Yours may be an easy
one. To test if it will be easy, tie a strong rope to the trunk of the tree
(say 5' high) and put some pressure on the rope with your car...Put on the
emergency brake then go to the far side of the tree and with a sharp round
nosed shovel see if you can cut the roots off all around the tree...It won't
take long doing this to know if this way will work for you or if you will
have to use #1 and #2 above.
Fort Langley, BC
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