Cheryl here in Southern NH, still recovering from "Snowtober"
Lost 4 of my poplars - three snapped in half. Should have cut the other
on down after hurricane Irene. Knew that one was on borrowed time....
but as to the snapped trees. Each one was about halfway up - between
15-18 feet up. I think the of the two that face the house, one has to
come down the rest of the way. There are no branches below the snap.
It's the other two that I have a question about - both have some
branches left. do you think they'll recover enough to continue to
provide shelter for local wildlife (birds, squirrels).
If it wasn't so ugly and depressing, I'd consider leaving the other to
see it would become woodpecker food. But I want a "pretty" view out the
front of the house.
All species in the genus Populus are fast-growing. They should recover
nicely, but they might require corrective pruning after recovery. Even
the one that has no branches should resprout. Just leave all of them
alone until spring. Pruning now will encourage new growth that will be
too tender to survive the winter.
Just watch out for root suckers, which are likely to result from damage
to the top. If you don't remove them promptly, you will have a poplar
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean, see
On Sat, 05 Nov 2011 06:37:16 -0800, "David E. Ross"
I don't consider poplars real trees, they are horrid giant weeds with
no redeeming value whatsoever, they're for pinheads who are into
quantity at the expense of quality... fortunately poplars don't live
long. My recommedation is to remove that trash and plant something
I'm guessing you have Lombardy poplars, the tall, skinny jobs? They're not
very long lived anyhow, and are probably close to the end of their lifespan.
Actually, most of the poplars have very short lifespans and usually brittle
Consider leaving the two remaining ones for a couple of years while you
replant the area with longer lived species. Then when the new trees have
gotten established, take down the poplars.
Depending on where you are in NH and the ground temperature, it might be
possible (and perhaps even advisable) to get the new trees in ASAP,
like within the next week. I'm on the other coast and about that
far north, and I'd still plant out here but that wouldn't be an option
in higher altitudes.
You might also consider some big, fast-growing shrubs for quick color and
form in your front yard, with the plan of taking those out when the new
trees get bigger.
I'd take those down now, get rid of those trash trees to make room for
real trees. I've seen too many people waste ten growing years
attempting to grow a privacy screen of those cheapskate trees, they're
cheap but utterly useless... they can't screen because they're
deciduous, they never grow very thick anyway so they don't offer much
screening in summer either. And lombardy poplar wins hands down for
the uglist plant on the planet.
Now that I know it's NH, as long as there isn't a problem with deer
munching, the perfect screening tree is Canadian Hemlock. And one can
definitely plant them in NH now, they can even be planted in frozen
ground if one can auger through, back fill, and mulch heavily... for
total privacy, if one has the space, plant a double staggered row...
find at least five year old specimens from a local nursery, seedlings
are too iffy and take too long to look like a tree.
I'm honestly not sure what kind of popular they - they were growing wild
here when I built the house and do provide shelter for the birds in
Everything is in what I call my copse - a smallish area of trees we
didn't take down when we built to screen the house from the road. There
are white pines, birches, oaks, hazelnuts and other naturally occurring
Except for the so-called tulip poplar (a magnolia relative, not a poplar
at all (and you do have them in NH), most of the poplar species you've got
up there don't live long. Some, like quaking aspen, tend to be clonal,
and you'll get sprouts all over the yard when they come down. It might be
good to figure out what you've got, and if it tends to send up sprouts when
the parent trees are damaged. If so, I'd recommend ringing the bark on the
remaining trees and letting them starve their root systems to death over the
next several years while you replace them with longer lived or more desirable
species for next to a road. When choosing trees, it's also useful to look
up --- here in Oregon, we live with trees heavily butchered for power line
clearance, a sad sight indeed for a mighty old oak or a flat-topped doug
Since you seem to be interested in wildlife gardening and want to keep some
privacy from the road (our house is set up like that, too), you might want
to consider underplanting with shrubs and vines with good wildlife value, and
choosing a couple of replacement trees with those in mind.
New Hampshire's Extension service, Fish & Game dept and Audubon all have
nice sections on choosing plants for wildlife value.
Me, I'm still working on the bitter cherry, English ivy and Himalayan
blackberry that came with the place... some days, I even think I'm winning.
On 11/6/11 2:42 PM, Kay Lancaster wrote [in part]:
In southern California, the utilities lop off the tops of palms for
power line clearance. Of course, this kills the palms. However, they
leave the trunks standing. When dry, a dead palm trunk can burn like
gasoline and destroy the power lines above it. :(
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean, see
Here we have two different departments who work together. The
Beautification Department plants trees under power lines. The Uglification
Department cuts the centre out of them to stop them touching the lines.
and here people can tell the power company not to trim the trees and
vines. That's a mistake and half.
A sensible solution must be out there - I'd prefer underground utilities
personally. Or a realistic cutback policy. I really don't want to buy a
generator but I'm getting too old for 6-9 days with out power.
I was referring to the urban situation of the two Departments. They produce
street after street with avenues of U-shape trees! I am rural and the
issues are somewhat different.
You can't prevent the power company from clearing the line here. First
every neighbour would curse you if you grew (or left) a tree near the wire
that came down and blacked out the district, secondly the power company has
an easement over the strip of land where the line goes so they have the
legal right to cross your property and deal with it (on the easement)
whether you like it or not. They have a helicopter that inspects the line
about once a year and the cutting contractor follows. I suppose this would
be called fascism in some places but it is practical and other than the
'copter annoying the horses does no harm.
Underground would be nice but way too expensive here where there are few
subscribers to pay for it.
On the top of the list is to go see what the library has for tree id books,
I suspect I should have a pro come in and take down the "poplars" and a
huge old pine with more than a bit of woodpecker activity. Since if it
fell it wouldn't hit the house or my driveway, and the cost is
prohibitive at the moment, it stays. I can take the poplars down with a
for now - back to clean up
You can also look online:
is the list of poplars from Vermont and New Hampshire;
if you click on one of the names in blue, you'll go to a page with at least one
photo and some links -- you're generally going to be looking for
"characteristics" and "plant guide" (if available).
Here's part of the reason you don't have underground lines:
And here are some invasives you don't want to bring in, most likely:
I'm probably sticking my nose in too far, but I tend to recommend that people
consider hiring a "consulting arborist" when you're talking about taking
down more than small trash trees. These are certified professionals who
do not have a link to a "tree care" business, so have no reason to tell you to
cut more than is actually needed, and they also tend to spot problems far
sooner than the rest of us mere mortals. The society has a general website:
http://www.asca-consultants.org with some resources, including an "ask a pro":
http://www.asca-consultants.org/conresources/expert.cfm The consulting
arborists I've worked with and met over the years (I'm a botanist by training)
have been really sharp and incredibly knowledgable. The cost is (in my
experience) quite modest.
You may also have access to a trained arborist through your city, county
or state wildlife or forestry department. I talked a friend in FL into
calling one out when she was being told all sorts of nonsense by a company
she'd hired to take down a tree that was tipping after a hurricane -- the
local forester saved her from signing a contract for about $10K of unneeded
work that would have actually destabilized much of her soil.
Years ago, my grandparents were badly taken by one of the fly by night tree
outfits, who talked them into removing 5 black walnuts, each about 4 ft dbh,
veneer quality trees. And paying for the removal of those healthy trees.
And of course they'd take those trees away , no extra charge for that... yeah,
right. They were probably worth about $5K per tree as veneer back in
the early 60s. :-(
So I apologize to all the honest tree care companies out there, and there are
many of you, but I do tend to strongly warn people to know what is actually
going on, and a consulting arborist can do just that for you.
is the list of poplars from Vermont and New Hampshire;
I know that cost would be outrageous BUT given very little has been
spent by PSNH's parent company to maintain the current infrastructure
let alone improve it I can't help but think it might be money well
spent. From our personal experience, response time has has gone from
hours to days. (I've been here for over 30 years)
I check that list constantly - and have been trying to kill off the
Oriental bittersweet and multiflora roses for years. Until such time as
certain neighbors move, the fight against purple loosestrife is confined
to my yard.
I would if the budget allowed. It just doesn't at the moment - the pine
was checked but the town and I was told it wasn't an active threat to
the road. (if it had been, I'd be on the removal list for free.)
Right now we're all wishing the estate that owns a house on my access
road would allow the town to cut down the dead beeches in the front yard
and the leaning pine in the swamp. Can't tell you how many times I've
put the flashers on and moved branches out of the road. All three are
going to come down soon and those beech are shedding big limbs anytime
the wind picks up.
as an aside
quaking aspen is a food source for large number of moths and butterflies.
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