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Looney prunes



November 8, 2012

Today’s Looney Prunes features a massacred jacaranda. These magnificent spreading trees flowering now in the warmer parts of the southern hemisphere should never, ever be planted under power lines.

They’re supposed to look like this and are one of those trees that respond very badly to pruning, creating what I call the ‘stretched giraffe neck’ branching habit where new water shoots go skywards and need to be carefully headed-back. This means repeatedly pruning the new long shoots down to a lower pair of leaf buds until the spreading branching habit is reinstated.

Like most contract maintenance under power lines, the contract only requires that the tree be pruned to within a fixed distance of the wires. I know that what happens outside of that is not within the contract but for pity’s sake, couldn’t someone use a merciful chainsaw to put poor, repeatedly butchered trees like the one above out of their, and our, misery?

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10 years ago

I totally agree with you Catherine. What a ghastly sight for such a splendid tree. I would love to be able to grow this tree, but we are too cold. What is the point in having a tree lined street when the trees look like those portrayed?

Julie Thomson
10 years ago

I thought our council was the only one with cockeyed ideas about tree pruning. We had a torreliana planted ( unwisely, I agree) on the footpath which eventually threatened the wires overhead and each year the company contracted to come in cherrypickers with chainsaws would come and “reshape” it, leaving it looking uglier and weirder each time, until it ended up like a gutted bowl, with wide spreading limbs dipping to a V.

When it got to ridiculous measure, I caught the trimmers in action one day, and asked them to cut the whole thing down, and, as you say, put it out of its misery. They said they weren’t allowed to. Council had jurisdiction on all things growing on the footpath.
I said it was “my” tree and I was giving them permission, but to no end.

The same day I received a letter in the mail from same council advising me they were going to remove the tree. ?????? Great communication!
Anyhow, they did so and at same time we ourselves also cut down a straggly calistemon, planted about 5m further along the footpath.

When they sent a stump grinder the following week to even off the ground, making it “safe” for passers-by, he would only grind the torelliana stump down. He “wasn’t authorised” to do the other stump, as council had not actually cut that tree down. So seems they are OK with that being a safety hazard for walkers..!!
I tell this long and winding tale to illustrate the stupidity of some local authorities.
Vent over.