When strata contracts run for only ten months, the owners get two winter months to turn rogue. That’s how one snowbell tree (Styrax japonicus) lost one half of its trunk.
Because we don’t recommend “pruning” this severe, the owner probably got fed up with strata council approval requests. Requests can go from council to the management company; and from there to the landscape contractor. I’ve seen requests so old, they were completed several weeks before the contractor formally received them.
I’m not sure how the poor tree ended up so close to the owner’s patio. It might have been a wayward seed or deliberate planting. Either way, the tree is way too close to the patio. Even if the roots don’t affect the patio stones, chances are, the foliage will eventually touch the building.
Styrax flowers are beautiful snow bells but they turn into hundreds of seeds that cover the patio and could cause the owner to slip. I’m also not sure if they wanted this much shade on their patio. I never got to interview them.
The bottom line is: the tree is situated too close to the patio.
By far the best solution would be to remove the tree completely. There is very little available space for the tree to grow.
The owner’s solution didn’t go far enough. She cut the tree at 4-5 feet so only the trunk was left. Which looks weird. It also removes whatever food was stored in the branches.
When over half of a tree goes missing, the tree notices it and pushes out many sprouts. After all, it will need leaves to feed itself. You can see the response in the picture below.
The response is furious, as the tree fights. The new sprouts mature into poorly attached branches and the owner is back to square one. Now you have a choice: remove the sprouts every year, remove the tree or rehabilitate it.
You can rehabilitate topped trees by keeping a few leaders, subordinating a few more sprouts, and completely removing the others. But here it wouldn’t make sense because there is not enough room for this Styrax.
ISA certified arborist Vas recommends complete removal!