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Monday, May 21, 2012

Just Because a Tree Looks Funny Dont Rip it Out

Desert Museum Palo Verde growing at
an odd angle and developing an odd shape
Q. I would like to ask your opinion on a Desert Museum Palo Verde tree I planted in my front yard here in the Las Vegas area about 2 years ago.  It looks like it is half of a tree with most of its branches on the side sagging toward the ground.  It is quite bent over and seems to be getting worse over time.  The yard’s terrain is slanted, but other trees on similar topography don’t seem to have this problem.  Do you think it should be staked, limbs removed, or whole tree removed? 

A. I see what you're saying from your pictures, the tree is leaning away from the house and does not look perfectly straight up as you're picturing in your mind it might become. Personally, I try to visualize what this tree might look like as it gets older.

Picture the tree as it might look ten years from now.
It looks strange now but adverse conditions
can create character in plants.
            I find that frequently a tree's character is shaped by its environment and it tends to grow in reaction to that environment. In other words your tree leaned and grew in that direction because of its location and the impact from surrounding plants and the environment.
            As I picture this tree 10 years from now, with this leaning trunk and major scaffold limbs pruned so they are not in the way, it might have a lot of character. This character would be entirely different than the picture-perfect tree you imagined when you bought it.

            I would tend to let it go and as it gets larger remove or cut back limbs that might damage the house and begin to remove the lower limbs if they interfere with human or vehicle traffic. It will begin to straighten out in the next few years. In my opinion, you have the beginning of a tree with quite a bit of character.

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