Thursday, 29 March 2012

You old Prune you.

Last week spring had certainly arrived here, which meant we couldn't put off the beginnings of our backyard makeover any longer. I feel like our backyard could be cast as the setting for a post apocalyptic film. Honest. It really does look like civilization just got up and walked away and let things get out of control. 

Eager to not throw the previous owner under the bus our neighbour simply stated "He wasn't much of a gardener." Uhm, understatement of the century.  Not only is this tree super out of control, but we suspected that it was completely dead. It seemed really unlikely that any water was able to get to the roots because of the unruly pile of wood stacked on and around the trunk.

But upon closer inspection we found some signs of life! So we decided that this year we would give this mystery tree a chance before pulling the plug, and signing the death certificate. Which meant an afternoon of pruning, which turned into days of pruning, but first we had to find the tree beneath all the junk. 

We removed all the wood and the aftermath was U-G-L-Y. It was worse than we thought, but we decided to go ahead in trying to see if ee can bring the tree back to life this summer. The roots are growing above ground because unbeknownst to us there was a second concrete pad underneath all that wood. We covered the roots with some composted top soil from the Good Earth Co. to hopefully provide them with some clearly depleted nutrients. 

What else was under all that wood? Well, I curated a little collection that I like to call "Crap We Found Under the Tree"

There was a prescription pill bottle from 2003 that unfortunately didn't make it into the collection. You get the idea. Apocalyptic right? 

When you cut large limbs off a tree it leaves an open "wound" that is susceptible to bugs and disease. So we grabbed some pruning paint from Canadian Tire to seal the bigger cuts that we made on the tree to help protect it from further damage. It goes on exactly like spray paint & sort of even looks like it too. 

Kind of like a big Band-Aid for our poor mystery tree, hopefully it helps. I have a feeling this tree needs the whole first aid kit, not just a few bandaids. 

Sigh. So our "progress" is bitter sweet for me, because it doesn't look much prettier than the before but I know that it had to get worse before it can get better. We now have a backyard full of tree limbs, and stumps that were also found underneath the tree (3 of them! Very strange). Owning two cars doesn't come in handy when you need to haul loads of foliage to the dump. Thank goodness for friends. Plans are in the works to get it all cleared away. 

We spent a great deal of time pruning with our new telescoping Friskars loppers, which are amazingtown and we picked them up for a super deal at "XS Cargo" making them even sweeter. We've been doing lots of watering, and are looking forward to some of the buds blooming so we can have a better idea what type of tree we're dealing with. We have some suspicions that it is a Lilac tree, based loosely on a few opinions and the neighbour telling us "Well, I can't remember the last time it was thriving but I think it was a lilac..."

Promising right? 

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