Ugly Trees

Platanus racemosa, California Sycamore.  (No, really!  It is! I swear!):
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These trees didn't start out ugly.   T'was pruning made them so.  Most--though not all--are grotesquely whacked because they were planted in  a space too small for their mature size. 

Grevilla robusta.  Smoked, indeed.  This tree gets very large very fast and is a common victim of topping:
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Another California native, this one is Alnus rhombifolia.  (No, really!  It is!)
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Here's a Cedar with the potential to get 30 or 40 feet wide, planted three feet from a building.  The pruners did the best they could by taking out large sections of branches rather than shortening them all.  
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A trash-ash, Fraxinus uhdei, that has been topped because it is under a power line, and needs to be topped again (preferably at ground level).  This is one tree that also looks ugly when correctly pruned.  It reseeds like a #$%^&.
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Particularly weird things are done to Ficus benjamina.  This tree has such large and disruptive surface roots it should never be planted without careful consideration.  Unfortunately, it is so cheap to produce, it is often planted by people who know nothing about its drawbacks but simply want a cheap tree.  It's not cheap to keep the monster pruned, kids:

Just call her "Fifi":
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Ficus benjamina can easily grow to be 60'x60' (20m x 20m).  These are kept to 8'x5':
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This used to be an Ulmus parvifolia, or Chinese Elm:
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I am not a professional Arborist, but I believe it can be generally agreed that topping a palm tree is a bad idea:
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 There, I got the tree-abuse rant out of my system for another few weeks.  You may not feel better, but I do.

Comments

  1. Wow, I have seen it all here too, but not a topped off palm tree!

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  2. I topped a palm tree once - accidently. Thought I could remove a dead frond by simply jumping up and grabbing it. Oops! The whole top came off, and we had a totem pole in the front yard. Please don't do this at home.

    Amazing pictures. I like the idea of 'ground-level pruning' for some of them. Seems like it would put them out of their misery.

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  3. I cracked up at that topped palm... couldn't help myself. There are idiots in them thar parts, it seems :) Good post!

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  4. Hey,

    That's actually Ficus microcarpa nitida.

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  5. All of them? We have many of both in the neighborhood (unfortunately). Fmn larger leaves, Fb smaller, weepier, and more chlorotic...

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  6. Ugh, I hate pollarded trees. So sad, huh? btw,if you're on FB, you might enjoy the 'Crimes Against Horticulture: When Bad Taste Meets Power Tools' page. Looks like you have some examples to contribute!

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  7. We got an interesting (and maddening!) little brochure in the mail from our local power company depicting the way we could expect our trees to look when their hired "arborists" got through with them. Utter butchery! I truly was aghast! I wish I could put my hands on it to scan and send but the last person I shared it with had a hankering for the brochure and kept it.

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  8. Just today we were looking at a mutilated tree in the neighborhood thinking, "What is that?" It was so hacked we couldn't even tell what genus it was.

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