The Most Unkindest Cut

This was the most unkindest cut of all;
For when the noble Caesar saw him stab,
Ingratitude, more strong than traitors' arms,
Quite vanquish'd him: then burst his mighty
heart. . . .
Julius Caesar, Act III Scene II

Ficus benjamina

Mostly I have zero sympathy for Ficus benjamina. They have nasty root systems and are the enemy of all rose growers, as well as pavement, which they buckle, and pipes, which they invade.  Yes, they have a great beauty;  look at these limbs, like the arms of Atlas, holding up a green world:
Ficus benjamina limbs

However, Ficus benjamina are simply inappropriate for street planting.  More problems are created  than solved.  Still...look at this poor thing:

Ficus benjamina

Did no one pause to think that the easiest way to keep trees out of power lines is to to plant trees with a mature height less than that of the power lines?

The electric company also had it in for this Chinese Elm, Ulmus parvifolia.

Chinese Elm, topped

I know trees and voltage need to be separated, but here the power lines are on the other side of the street, so there's really no excuse for this:
Ficus benjamina, oh my

I realize they are encouraging height to keep branches out of the way of trucks and pedestrians and so forth, but after all that, eventually the ficus roots will buckle the sidewalk and they'll pull them out at great expense. That, plus they look ridiculous.  The fake trees that disguise cell towers have a more natural appearance. 

It's not like the city doesn't know how to prune a tree correctly. These Magnolias around the corner are adequately if not artfully headed back and laced out:

Magnolia laced out properly

Seeing this undamaged, unmolested, unstunted, un-poodled, unmodified Dracena draco nearby granted me a sense of relief. At least it is not chainsawed into a cube.

Dracena Draco

Sorry for the rant, but these mutilated trees illustrate our alienation from our planet and from species with whom we share this world. We don't know them, we don't understand them, we don't respect them. Is this not an "Ingratitude, more strong than traitors' arms"?

The Pruning of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers: Second EditionPruning Made Easy: A Gardener's Visual Guide to When and How to Prune Everything, from Flowers to Trees (Storey's Gardening Skills Illustrated Series)Fiskars 9240 Telescoping Pruning StikJulius Caesar


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