For those in peril with a tree

I said a couple of weeks ago that I was worried about fixing a shed. I had qualms which centred around how someone as ignorant of DIY and other practical matters as I could possibly supervise events to a sufficient level of safety and productivity that it would be suitable to ask any of my close friends.

This weekend I decided to prune a tree. Quite soon after we had moved into the new house I looked into how and when you should prune a tree: the general advice was to cut in late autumn or winter, the dormant period, with a few exceptions. At the time I had no idea what sort of tree we had inherited from the previous owners, and after collecting advice on pruning I then went onto Flickr, where numerous hobbyist groups exist to examine posted photographs of unknown plants and offer their advice on what sort it might be.

Opinion was mixed, but along with advice gleaned from elsewhere I soon realized that the tree was a flowering cherry. From looking at the leaves, I and others worked out that it was also probably suffering from blossom wilt. Its small-scale structure was therefore, I decided, in as much need of pruning as its larger-scale sprawl. A good prune and a good fertilize. Excellent, I thought, and managed to wait till January before eagerly beginning my life of vegetable husbandry.

Only after lopping a decent amount off our tree did I return to the pruning advice to find that one of the exceptions was: cherry trees, including flowering varieties. If you prune them in winter then they bleed almost as much as if you prune them in summer, but without the summer sun to help them withstand the stressful event. I don’t think I’ve trimmed so much off yet that I might have killed it, but: how would I know what would and wouldn’t kill a tree? I can’t even prune it at the right time. For Christ’s sake don’t let me near a shed.

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