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To Fell or Not to Fell

Discussion in 'Trees' started by Weedling, May 20, 2018.

  1. Weedling

    Weedling Apprentice Gardener

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    I have a garden that has slowly been overshadowed by trees.

    They have had a lack of proper pruning over the years and one is particlarly close to the house.

    By my nature, I am reluctant to cut down any trees unless required, but it may be that in this situation there are too many large trees in too small an area.

    I have had tree surgeons out who have quoted for crown reduction, but some suggested it may be a better idea for removal (they were not cowboys, but properly registered surgeons).

    So I thought I would garner some thoughts on here.

    The trees consist of: 1x large Copper beech (this is saying)
    1x Contoneaster which is not in the best of health
    1x Ornamental plum (closest to house and a bit ungainly)

    There is also some conifers that are certainly going and small light leaf maple which may be moved.

    The tree in question is the Ornamental Plum. As i said, I am usually very reluctant to remove a tree, but it has not been well maintained or shaped.

    The other option is a careful crown reduction etc. This tree has a tendency to sprout new growth heavily when pruned.

    Thoughts?

    Many thanks in advance.

    Below is a birds eye view of the trees with the trunks and their corresponding crown spread. Red is the Ornamental Plum, green is the Copper Beech, and yellow is the Contoneaster.

    tree tops.jpg

    20180517_195732.jpg20180517_195741.jpg20180517_195759.jpg20180517_195825.jpg20180517_195835.jpg

    What would you do?
     
  2. pete

    pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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    Think I'd get rid of all three, copper beech is likely to become massive over the years, the plum, not something that sounds worth keeping, Cotoneaster, well they are easily come by, and could be replaced with something more ornamental.
    Just my thoughts.:smile:
     
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    • shiney

      shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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      I guess they're also cutting out a lot of light. If so, then they need to go anyway. :blue thumb:
       
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      • Verdun

        Verdun Passionate gardener

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        Without doubt, get rid of everything except the copper beech. Such a lovely plant so I would consider pruning it Weedling :)
         
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        • Weedling

          Weedling Apprentice Gardener

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          Yeh the Copper Beech is a nice tree, in a good shape (slightly out of control at the top) and is perfect for a tree house. It is the furthest from the house right on the corner so it is pretty nicely positioned. It does need a prune however. The downside is the light blockage, because even without the other two, it is still a dense tree.

          But removing the other two and keeping on top of the copper beech may be the best solution. I just hate cutting down trees, and feel terrible for doing it.

          The house was previously let for a long period so they never got the attention they deserved.

          I just have to ensure I keep on top of the beech if I fell the other two as I bet it will start to stretch it's legs once they are out of they way.

          The grass in the front garden struggles to grow under the shade, it is mostly moss in places. But it is contending with those three trees, three awful conifers (which are going) and that small maple.

          I plan to totally reseed the front lawn with a grass seed designed for shade too.
           
        • Verdun

          Verdun Passionate gardener

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          You will get it sorted I'm sure Weedlng. Good luck :)
           
        • Sheal

          Sheal Total Gardener

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          The Copper Beech can reach a height of fifty feet and if you consider the root spread too it will be sapping water and nutrients from the ground, which in turn will make it difficult to grow anything else in the garden.

          I agree with Pete and Shiney on removing all three.
           
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          • Mike Allen

            Mike Allen Gardener

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            TREES! I love them. They are so important to our wellbeing. Sadly trees in the garden does so often present problems. However large the tree might grow to, it will require attention. Professional treat ment costs a bomb. Sadly when it comes to choosing plants for the garden. We usually take great care in browsing the plant list and planning a bed or border. With trees, it's usually. I like that one, it will look good over there. That's it. Perhaps a few years later. The tree is blocking out the light. Hey! the roots are damaging the house foundations etc, or starving the soil. I hate it, I cringe when I hear the chain saws at work. Perhaps the tree/s were already there when the house was built. I always remember a Forestry Commission warning. 'It takes sixty years for a tree to grow, but only sixty SECONDS to destroy it. So my friend. Please consider well before the final action.
             
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            • Weedling

              Weedling Apprentice Gardener

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              To be honest, I'm surprised that the majority think a complete felling of all is the best option.

              The opinions have been very helpful though.

              I assumed people on here would be more tree sympathetic or at least resistant to felling unless a last resort/only option. However, thinking about it, I certainly understand it from a practicality point of view. I guess it is about what plants/trees are appropriate for the space.

              At the moment, I am not brave enough to remove the copper beech. It is a pretty iconic tree in the area, being on a corner plot. I think a careful prune is probably the best option with that. A gradual crown reduction and thinning maybe.

              I even get worried enough about considering removing the ornamental plum. When things have been there for so long, making a big change is not always easy. It has probably been there for 40 years.

              I also have an arial picture from the late 1940s and I think the copper beech is on it, but probably as a small sapling.
               
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                Last edited: May 22, 2018
              • Verdun

                Verdun Passionate gardener

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                Thank goodness Weedling....mature copper beech is a wonderful thing to have. You wont get one like that again so keep it. Wish I had one :)

                If you are heeding professional advice, I wouldn't worry about removing the ornamental plum.
                 
              • Mike77

                Mike77 Gardener

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                I went through this with 3 large trees that had been badly maintained when I bought my house last year. In the end I had a tree surgeon remove them.

                I now have 3 apple trees a cherry and a plum on more appropriate rootstocks in the space that they were in. I'm glad I did it.
                 
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                • pete

                  pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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                  Depends on how big your garden is, but Copper Beech is basically a forest tree, the cotoneaster and the plum are probably more suitable for a garden tree.
                  But they are both pretty unimpressive, unless you want plums, or winter food for birds.

                  I've got oaks and all kinds in my extended garden, so I shouldn't perhaps be saying get rid of the Beech, but to keep it within bounds will take a lot of effort, unless space is unlimited in my view.:smile:
                   
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                  • silu

                    silu gardening easy...hmmm

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                    Please don’t fell anything until later in the year as you are very likely to disturb birds nesting if you do. I am lucky having a huge garden so can accommodate enormous trees including a massive and glorious Copper Beech. If I were you I would remove the other trees and leave your lovely Beech and live with the result for a while. If you feel it is still too shady because of the Beech then either get it lopped or remove:cry3:.Once it’s gone it’s gone so you really want to be sure you want rid of it before getting the chainsaw going.
                    I posted a photo of mine on What’s looking good in May on the 11th.
                     
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                    • pete

                      pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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                      I think the problem with growing large trees in built up areas is often with the neighbours.

                      You might like it, it might be in a reasonable position regarding not casting too much shade etc. on your property, but what is it going to be like in 10 yrs time.

                      My sister had her car, and garage destroyed by a falling neighbours large balsam poplar a few years ago.
                      My neighbour has a massive Ailanthus at the end of their garden, it means even in mid summer, and facing west, I get no sun in my garden after 4 pm.
                       
                    • Tetters

                      Tetters Total Gardener

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                      Whenever I find it necessary to fell a tree @Weedling it makes me feel really sad. I can happily say that I`ve planted far more than I have chopped.

                      In your case, my thoughts would be - for now, take out the cotoneaster - but not without very carefully searching for nesting birds..and those HAVE to be the immediate priority.
                      After that, I would give it until at least the autumn - preferably later when the sap is not rising before making a further decision.

                      It is, in your case fairly likely that the plum would be the most likely to cause more problems where it is situated, and therefore another possible contender for the chain saw.

                      If and when you have decided to remove those two, that beautiful beech may not seem nearly as menacing - then it would be the next decision. My gut feeling is that some careful reduction of the crown may be all that is needed.

                      There is so much that you can grow in shade very successfully, and I think I would only grow grass in the sunnier areas. A lawn does not have to be a perfect square - or circle after all.

                      My old mum used to always say......... ''If in doubt - don`t'' :)
                       

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