Three London Plane Tree 'Bloodgood' Trees Planted - Pleaching Planned - October 2021
This post serves as the final 'tree planting' post for the year, but also lays out a little bit of the self-education process I've been through in terms of ornamental tree pruning over the past few weeks.
I'm learning (everyday!) that there are many types of pruning - and I've tried one of them: espalier.
But, in addition to espalier, there's also pollarding, pleaching and topping.
The espalier I've done includes some horizontal cordon work on a pair of Greenspire Linden trees. After four growing seasons, they're starting to come into their final form and I love them.
And more recently, set up a new pair of crab apple trees with a TBD form.
I've been exploring the other pruning methods to figure out if I should try to learn and get to know them.
What I've settled on is trying my hand at pleaching. The first time i talked about pleaching was back in 2018 here when I was discussing trees. At the time, I was using pleaching and espalier interchangeably. But, that isn't the case. Then, we saw pleached Chestnut trees at Luxembourg Gardens in 2019 and I started to understand them as not 2 dimensional, but 3 dimensional - almost 'boxes'.
But, let's also get up-to-speed on the other pruning methods that I looked at to narrow my options.
First, pollarding. Via Hortus Conclusis:
Pollarding refers to pruning a tree’s branches right back to the trunk or stem so that it will produce a dense growth of new shoots. It is often used in cities and parks to inhibit growth branches which might cause an obstruction.And what kind of trees are appropriate for pollarding? The Royal Horticultural Society has this list:
Turns out, that's what I saw in tokyo with their street trees here and here. Pollarding is interesting. But, not what I'm after in our backyard.
The main difference between the two methods is that coppicing occurs at ground level while pollarding is done 8-10 feet high to prevent browsing animals from eating the fresh shoots; typically, coppicing was done to manage woodlands and pollarding was done in a pasture system.Again...coppicing is interesting, but not what I'm after here with trees.
Finally...what about topping? From Arborist Now, they explain how topping is different than pollarding:
Topping a tree is reducing the height of the crown to a limit. Think of a heading cut applied to the tree as a whole.What is a heading cut you ask? A heading cut is when you prune the terminal portion of a branch to a bud or a lateral branch that isn’t large enough to assume dominance of growth. This shocks the branch either causing various dormant lateral buds to start growing (watersprouts) or killing the branch entirely. Similarly, topping a tree will shock it and can lead to either erratic growth or sudden death.
Here's the photo from their post:
|Not my photo above. Source.|
*THAT'S* what I'm after. A hedge on stilts.
But, what kind of trees work well for these pleached trees? Again, I turned to the Royal Horticultural Society and they share a few ideas including Ash, Beech, Chestnut (What is in Luxembourg Gardens in Paris), Hornbeams and....Plane trees.
Now...on to the tree planting pay-off.
All of that windup about pleaching (and other techniques) leads to this payoff: I've recently brought home three very small London Plane Tree 'Bloodgood' trees that I've planted along the south fence line and have spaced them about 4' apart with the goal of working on pleaching them into a 'hedge on stilts'.
I only planted three. Should have done four, but I didn't come across a fourth tree this Fall. Will put this on my 2022 plan/wish-list.
In terms of keeping score, these are the 66th, 67th and 68th tree planted since we bought the property and have 47 trees alive.
Across this being our fifth growing season here.
68 trees planted/5 growing seasons = 13.6 trees on average planted each season.
47 trees alive/5 growing seasons = 9.4 trees on average survive each season.
These are the 14th, 15th and 16th trees planted this season which is the the third highest total behind the high years when I planted 17 trees (2018 and 2020). Which puts us above the median of 13.6 by almost three trees.
This would - I think - be the last tree planting post for the 2021 growing season.
1. Flowering Pear in backyard on north side.
3. Japanese flowering cherry
4 and 5: 2 Lindens that I espalier'd and placed by the south fence line near our kitchen windows.
7. Nat's Saucer Magnolia in our front yard
2018 (17 planted. 6 Dead):
14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21. These Frans Fontaine Hornbeams.
22. A replacement Chanticleer Pear tree (3" caliper) out front by our garage
25. Our replanted/replacement Dawn Redwood. Same spot as the first.
26. This teeny-tiny Bald Cypress that I planted in the front yard, in between our driveway and our neighbor to the north.
33. My new Weeping White Spruce that will only grow about 4' wide placed near the fence line alongside the espalier'd Lindens.
46. A small Northern Red Oak tree - our first Oak tree planted.
47. A 'decapitated' Lavender Twist Weeping Redbud that I planted on a whim.
49. A tall(ish) London Plane tree that suffered some transplant and frost shock, but seemed to recover.