Agonis Pruning

Uh-oh.
Tree Problem photo yikes5633_zps73ebcab2.jpg
While I was working on the big Eucalyptus stump removal the past few weeks, the adjacent Agonis had my attention.  Our little Agonis flexuosa 'After Dark' has been growing rapidly--too rapidly for its own good, it appears.  It has three trunks, and last week I discovered one of them was splitting. 
Tree Problem photo a5319_zps1acc31da.jpg
It also leans quite a bit to the southwest, either due to the split, or to our northeast Santa Ana winds.  The winds may have aided the splitting in the first place.  I'd been lightly heading back one side of the tree for the last couple of years to straighten out that lean, and it had been improving, but the splits meant I'd not done enough, or done it soon enough.

Cutting off one side or the other of that split leaves a barkless wound on the trunk, and so does not present a good solution.  Cutting off the entire trunk, leaving a two-trunked tree, would be ideal.
Tree Problem photo yikes5638_zps058d982b.jpg
Unfortunately I discovered another of the three trunks has the same problem--a split.  Double uh-oh.
Agonis photo Agonis5942_zps3a8c5c24.jpg
I ended up cutting off one side of the split on the two damaged trunks.  
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A temporary solution that I assume will haunt me--now I must ponder removing our pretty little Agonis.  Yes, another stump. At least it is a smaller one. 
In the meantime, at least the tree is straightened out.  Yes, I'm rationalizing here. 
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I could move the nearby 'Reed' Avocado planted last year over to the Agonis spot (a scary thought, though probably a reasonable idea for the long term good), or I could leave the 'Reed' where it is and plant my potted 'Hercules' Aloe in that spot.  'Hercules' is so desperate to get out of his pot.  Or do I leave the wounded Agonis and see what happens?

Trees don't seem so much like gardening as like hardscape;  something requiring intensive thought, outside help, serious consequences, cost.  A woody old lavender or frowsy heuchera can be gleefully ripped out and replaced in minutes, but a tree is a days-long, weeks-long project.  No wonder I've mostly avoided them!  
More my ability level:
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Comments

  1. We spend a lot of time thinking about our trees, too. Even relatively smaller, like your Agonis, they represent such a time and environment investment, it's very difficult to make the decision to remove them. Then it's difficult (and sometimes expensive) to actually do it.

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  2. I love trees in the garden but.........decisions are difficult to take, such a pity we don't have a large landscape garden......allright perennials and shrubs we can manage but sometimes we want some more height, so the point is to choose the right one for the right place.

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  3. Funny, but I was having the same thoughts recently, as I contemplated yet another stump of a tree. No wonder people have perennial gardens. Except that I just planted 8 trees.

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