Monday, March 19, 2012

A Tale of Two Trees and Eight Dog Paws

This tree is not one you want to plant! I don’t know its botanical name, just a tree that was touted as fast growing and would provide shade in five years. We planted two of them to provide quick shade on the south side of the house.
Emerging leaves on fast-growing poplar

It did. But with its fast growth came numerous problems. First, the roots. They grow on top of the ground. Because of the impossibility to run the mower over these protruding roots, several areas around the trees had to be converted to unplanned “natural areas.” Another problems is that shoots emerge from the roots, so it’s a constant chore of clipping off these wayward children..

One thing I’ve learned: a fast growing tree is a shallow-rooted tree. And a fast growing tree also is short lived. How many years will it last? Maybe another 30-40, so I think it will outlive me (compare to an oak tree, which lives 100 plus years). The next person who lives in this house may have to find an alternate source of shade.

We lost one large limb on one of the trees, but do not believe that was due to wind, but instead to disease. That was three years ago, and we haven’t seen any further sign of disease, so maybe we’re safe on that count.
The poplar tree has a fat trunk

Another final disadvantage of having this tree is the absolute mess it creates each spring. First comes long worm-like things that fall everywhere. Then, new leaves emerge encased in a pod – a brownish yellow, sticky shell that falls as the leaf opens. These fall onto the deck and you know what that means: Dirty shoe soles and dirty dog paws. For the past week I have cleaned dog paws and messed up the soles of shoes with this sticky mess. I can manage the human angle by changing shoes at the door and watching where I step outside. Not so the doggies! I have spent an inordinate amount of time cleaning eight paws, trimming hair from around their pads, for a full week.
Kris, thinking about having to get his paws cleaned
As you can see from the picture below, these trees are perilously close to the glass conservatory and I just hope winds do not ever bring them down, especially in the direction of the house.
The second poplar is at the right side
Long stringy things and yellow sticky shells

"Oh please! I hate it when you mess with my feet."


Allright, one dog down, one to go. Where's Val? Oh no, I think she ran away! 

Valerie, making a quick get-away!


  1. Cute! First - "The next person who lives in this house may have to find an alternate source of shade." You're MOVING? Or we're moving? Can I finish my coffee first before we start packing? More importantly, ladies and gentlemen: Ms. "MASTER 'Can a Garden get too mush sun?' GARDENER" does not know what this tree is??

    1. Sorry - "mush" should be "much"

    2. Husbands say the wierdest things! Nice!

  2. Thanks for the adorable dog pictures! I hate shallow rooted trees. They are such a pain. You have to worry every time the wind blows.

    1. They are such adorable dogs. Both are rescues and we really got lucky with them. Great personalities and such fun dogs!

  3. The dogs, gosh- what breed are they? Retrievers?
    Living up here in the north, we don´t have trees like you have.
    Instead we have extremely huge trees, few that are actually " dead ", and should be removed, but even the thought of all the mess, wears me out.
    I wish a helicopter would come and lift them somewhere. We have so much firewood already, no more is needed. And, what a lot of work cutting, piling and drying all the wood.
    During the years ( 16 ), we have lived here, 4 huge trees have crashed down due to storms, oh boy.
    And every time, a tree falls down, I feel sorrow.

    1. Golden Retrievers. Both rescues, and just adorable. Would love to see tree pictures from Finland. I love trees!

  4. Love the Chris pictures but Val wins this one - way too cute as she really is.
    Also hate shallow rooted trees - just a big problem for gardeners and for tripping over the roots!

    1. That is a great picture of Val, isn't it. Claus made it with the big camera, probably better than the phone camera.


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