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A Note on Trees



Months ago I complained about having to paint this fence. Pictures showed trees. I liked the trees, a lot, even as I knew they would one day be too big for the space. Early in the year I saw fungus–or something–growing on them. I sprayed them more than once and the white stuff seemed to fall off or fade. I pruned them and was surprised to find I enjoyed the act, a plain sense of easy accomplishment and happiness in how clean and proper they looked: little green Christmas trees ready for ruby red balls.

Both trees died. I was sorry about it–moderately sorry, I suppose. They were green growing things and I have always treasured green things that grow. Some people here don’t see trees at all and cut them down when their irrational fear of them toppling outgrows the tree’s size. Growing up in Texas should cure anyone of this fantasy. It’s true–I probably would have let them get way too big. But it takes so many years for a tree to be any size at all. Cutting one down for anything at least suggests a crime.

I sprayed and trimmed them, put fertilizer darts in the ground around them, even gave them some water. I could have sprayed them more, I suppose, or with different stuff, or consulted with someone knowledgeable. I could have done all that and they could have turned into brown pincushions anyway.

The first one I pulled out and cut up and stuffed in the compost bin before I left, in late July. I only did one as that’s all my bin would hold. The other can wait until I get back. It’s not going anywhere.

Cutting it up was short work. An estate sale handsaw went through the trunk in less than a minute, clippers taking off the branches. The root was harder, bending and twisting to snap off the runners. The root ball came up at once, still a ball. Fifteen minutes maybe. Cutting the wood released the intense odor of pine.

No one would guess two trees were there. It looks lopsided compared to the neighbors who have all of theirs. They have two dogs too, and a roommate, all in a place no bigger than mine. The fence is so stark now. I’m glad to have stained it, to cut the glare, give it living color.



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