Picture a new house and busy, young owners with a small boy to care for. Their lawn went un-watered and un-cared for for months and now they needed help from Red Seal Vas. It happens all the time. Having a nice green lawn is harder than it looks. You have to water it regularly, fertilize it with product specific to the season, and cut at the proper height. On dry days you can mulch it by letting the clippings drop on the lawn as free fertilizer; and if you have time, you can pop any big weeds with a hand tool.
But this blog post is about two columnar sweetgum trees (Liquidambar styraciflua) planted in the front lawn. They both looked dry, they didn’t have established tree wells and one had a dry top, a sure sign of water stress. I also did a quick wiggle test by gently moving the main stem. Since I could see the root balls moving, I knew the trees weren’t established.
The lady didn’t want the trees. She was sure of that. So I suggested she take a picture of the tree tags, still attached to the trees. (Columnar sweetgum, Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Slender silhouette’, $149.99). She can then use the information to sell the trees online. And she did, just before I did a second cut on her weedy lawn.
As luck would have it, I finished work close by so I popped over to help dig up the trees, like some Japanese just-in-time service. Now, since the trees weren’t completely established in their planting holes the extraction was easy. Once the trees were out we transferred them to plastic pots and wrapped them up in plastic so we could put them in the small SUV that showed up.
I always wonder what sort of person buys columnar sweetgum online. The young buyer looked like a techie. He put the root balls in the back and stuck the tree tips out through the passenger window. I hope he didn’t have far to go.
Don’t want your landscape trees? Give them away or sell them online. My client did and she’s happy, even though those two trees were the only trees on her property, if you don’t count single cedars.
When you dig up the trees, keep as much of the root ball as you can, unless you’re confidently planting bare-root. Also, don’t forget to fill in the holes so your mailman doesn’t break a leg.
Never waste perfectly good trees!