The Final Update on the Leaning Pawpaw

I’ve been eying my bigger pawpaw nervously since last August.
By the end of March, I was sure it was leaning more, and it was leaning too much. It had to go. I’ll figure out what to do with the space later. The best time of year to remove a deciduous plant that you want permanently gone is right when the buds are starting to swell—all that new growth uses up the plant’s reserves—and the buds were starting to swell.

On April 4, I took out my limb saw and cut off all the limbs as well as the main trunk, as high as I could reach on a ladder.

The pawpaw really was leaning more. Photographed on April 4, 2021.

Now I had that trunk glaring balefully through my kitchen window. My bow saw seems to have disappeared. I suspect it got mixed in with some stuff I had hauled out of my basement. I really didn’t want to tackle it with my limb saw. The teeth are way too fine for this job, and the blade is rather short.

On the other hand, I had that dying trunk glaring at me, and a very sharp saw that cuts on both the push and the pull stroke, with a comfortable handle, and the tree was leaning quite a bit. There was no question of where it would land.

It took two weeks to talk myself into using the limb saw. I took the trunk out very carefully, because it turned out that the trillium are multiplying under cover of the Dutchman’s breeches, right in range of the saw tip. I tried not to wreck them. I mostly succeeded—you can see a couple to the right of the stump and just below its near edge.

In the end, I pushed the trunk over and walked and rolled it out of the way.

The end of the leaning pawpaw. Photographed on April 18, 2021.

None of the remaining plants get any shade at this time of year because pawpaws don’t leaf out until May, and the silver maple above everything is just leafing out now. My current plan is to go through this calendar year and see what changes need to be made. Trillium really like shade, so I will watch them closely.

The other pawpaw seems to be fine, so I will leave it alone. They are neat trees. Unfortunately, there will be no pawpaws without a second tree.

Maintenance: Moving a Prickly Rose to a Safer Place

Rosa setigera is an early summer-blooming native with a variable growth habit. Depending on what you read, it grows from 3–4 feet to perhaps 12–15 feet. This one is certainly in the double digits. I clipped long canes from July onwards last year, and came to the conclusion that I would have to move the rose further from the sidewalk. Its thorns are numerous and sturdy; I would not want a neighbor dog or child to tangle with it. There would be yelping. There would be tears. Continue reading “Maintenance: Moving a Prickly Rose to a Safer Place”

Edge Effects in Shade

“Your garden looks like an estate!” That comment really surprised me, but I realized that there is one thing this little yard has that most yards do not: beds with clearly defined edges and swaths of plants that are the same variety. Edges and swaths lead the eye around, and can make your yard seem both larger and calmer. 

Fall is a great time to think about what changes you would like to make to your yard; many plants can be divided and moved around now that the temperatures are cooler. Summer’s damage can be appraised, and gardening mistakes can go discreetly into the compost pile.  Continue reading “Edge Effects in Shade”