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Tree advice please!

Discussion in 'Trees' started by DanC, Aug 20, 2018.

  1. DanC

    DanC Apprentice Gardener

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    Hi all,

    I have recently moved into a new flat, we have 2 large trees in the garden that I'd like some advice on. I've attached some photos on this post and having done some research online I believe they are elderberry trees. The two questions I have about them are one, is my identification of the trees correct and, two, how much can I cut these back without killing them? The one by our back door looks very nice however, the berries are dropping right in front of our back door and some of the branches are growing into the building and damaging the brick work. I'm capable of cutting down some of the larger branches and getting rid of them but I wanted to make sure that I won't kill the tree in the process as it is so close to the house and could potentially cause issues to the foundations if it did die.

    Apologies for the long post. Really appreciate any advice that people can offer me about this situation.

    Thanks!
    Danimage1.jpegimage2.jpegimage3.jpegimage4.jpegimage5.jpegimage6.jpeg
     
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    • Gail_68

      Gail_68 Guest

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      Hello @DanC :sign0016: to GC and nice to have you with us :)

      I'm no expert on trees mate sorry, all we have here are conifers / birch tree and red berry tree and all of them are cut back what ever time of year and they still keep growing well but don't get doing this because your tree is different...this link may help in the meantime till more expert members come on in this field.

      Trimming Elderberry Plants: Learn About Pruning An Elderberry

      @KFF and @pete could you help this new member please :dbgrtmb:
       
    • silu

      silu gardening easy...hmmm

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      l:sign0016: you to GC. Yes I am pretty sure you are correct and the tree in the photos bar the last photo is an Elder. I am not sure if the tree in the last photo is the same? I can't see very clearly if it is but it's habit looks a bit different?I don't grow the native Elder which yours is but grow the more "fancy" varieties. Unless I am very much mistaken all Elders respond very well to being pruned really hard. I prune mine hard come about February and they respond by putting on say 5 foot of new growth during the season. I know of people who prune their Elders right to the ground every year, perhaps I wouldn't be quite so drastic with yours but you can see in photo 4 how it has responded from being pruned in the past by sprouting lots of branches from where the branch was pruned. I'd be inclined to prune all the tree's branches back to where the branch was pruned before if this makes sense and see how things go next season. I would wait until say February before you do this altho where the tree is situated looks very sheltered so you could probably do it any time.
      The photos below are of 2 of my Elders (Sambucas). The gold leafed 1 in 1st photo is about 40 years old and would be heading for the moon if not heavily pruned each year. Make sure the other tree is the same and if so you could safely prune that down to below fence height during the winter. You can make Elderberry wine from the berries, not my cup of tea tho. I prefer a drop of Scotch instead!
      IMG_0844.JPG002.JPG
       
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      • KFF

        KFF Total Gardener

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        Hi @DanC , Welcome to GC ,

        :sign0016:

        Sorry I don't do trees, but I'm glad that @silu has answered. She's a superstar when it comes to trees and their maintenance.
         
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        • Marley Farley

          Marley Farley Affable Admin! Staff Member

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          Hi @DanC Welcome to GC.. I can't work out if the last pics are of a different tree.. Could you get a close up of the leaves..

          Elder trees if they get into the brickwork can be very damaging.. If it is already in the brickwork get it out completely and put a tree in a tub in its place.. Elders can be pruned back very hard and usually come back full of vigour.. Really and truthfully any tree in the ground that can get quite large should be no nearer than say 5 metres from house foundations.. Remember, what you see above ground is never as big as the root system underground..
           
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          • Tetters

            Tetters Naughty Gardener

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            Hello @DanC, and a big warm welcome to the forum, it is nice to have you on board. I realise that you would like to keep this native Elder, but if I had one that old, leaning towards my house, I`m afraid it would be removed entirely. There is not only the danger of it falling, but the roots will not be helping the footings or the drains at all.
            This tree is quite fast growing, and it would not be hard to plant another younger specimen further away from the building .... I shouldn`t think a replacement would cost too much either if you shop in the right place.
            Of course, if you have a landlord or if there is a TPO on the tree you may need permission:)
             
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            • Redwing

              Redwing Wild Gardener

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              Elders can be a bit unruly and untidy but they really come into their own this time of year. Birds love the berries and will feed up on them before migration. Therefore they are a very good tree for wildlife.
               
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              • Gail_68

                Gail_68 Guest

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                Silu stunning pictures mate :love30:
                 
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                • silu

                  silu gardening easy...hmmm

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                  Well I am not too sure where you got idea from @KFF:) but thanks for the compliment misplaced or otherwise;).
                  I was sort of tempted to say it might be better to remove the tree but having bothered to correctly identify the tree it seemed a pity to suggest to get rid of it.
                  I think if it were me I would remove the Elder near the house and prune the tree near the fence but not too sure if that is an elder or not...doubt it.
                   
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                  • pete

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

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                    Most common Elders I come across are basically weed trees, self sown, and they grow fast.
                    So, if its not wanted, and the landlord dont mind I'd get rid of it.
                     
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                    • DanC

                      DanC Apprentice Gardener

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                      Hi all,

                      Thanks very much for the advice - appreciated!

                      We have cut back the tree at the end of the garden and I think it doesn't look too bad. As for the one at the side of the house we have cut down the branches that were brushing the wall of the house and asked a tree surgeon to come and look at the rest, they were a bit too high for me to climb to and looked very large so I was a bit worried about damage to the house when they came down!

                      Thanks again!
                      Dan
                       
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                      • Tetters

                        Tetters Naughty Gardener

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                        Dan, that`s a very sensible thing to do. It would be interesting to know what your tree surgeon has to say. Large trees like that need to be dealt with by the experts, and they have all the qualifications and experience with chainsaws etc. it can be a dangerous job, and even the best of them have accidents - I know that from first hand experience :smile:
                         

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