Monterey Pine: A Shave and a Haircut

If trees could talk...

As borrowed landscaping goes, you can’t beat the majesty and grace of a native Monterey Pine. This beauty lives at the fence line of our neighbor’s yard but we share the bounty year round. I’m humbled when I look at a tree this old and grateful that it continues to thrive in our urban setting.  The invasive pitch canker disease threatens to destroy 85% of the native Monterey pine forests by 2015.  According to this article by Linda Boston Franke:

In the last decade, this hearty pine tree species, which adorns west coast beaches, populates coastal mountain sides, accents both urban and rural neighborhoods, and flourishes in Christmas tree farms, has been threatened by a disease known as pitch canker, leaving beloved backyard monuments and entire forests alike scarred with scraggly decaying branches, gaping bare spots, and in many cases with the complete demise of the tree itself.

I’m so happy that “our” tree is still standing.

We’ve used the professional services of Ian Geddes Professional Arboriculture for 15 years.  They come out periodically to check on the health of our trees, pruning when necessary.  We were happy to learn last summer that the tree remains in good health.  Geddes team came out today to give the pine a “shave and a haircut” while the temperatures remain cool.  They thinned the inner branches to increase circulation, removed dead branches and tucked back some of the limbs to a safer distance from our homes.

PG&E sends out a crew every two years to trim the tree near the power lines, leaving it looking lopsided with a c-curve carved on one side.  Today’s prune was more aesthetic in nature, not to mention an amazing thing to watch.  Three men, tethered to one of the tallest limbs, scaled the tree and removed dead and crossing branches.  They were sure-footed and agile as they went about their work.  I heard singing from one of the branches, a clear sign in my book that at least one of the men tethered to the tree is doing something he loves.

As for our towering pine, I hope I’m still writing about the squirrel escapades as they circle the trunk, or the wonderful smell of the tree after a rainstorm in the years to come.  We’ve planted our own roots in this neighborhood, and this tree is part of what makes our house a home.

Ian Geddes Tree Crew

More Air Flow to the Tree

Before and After the Trim

8 thoughts on “Monterey Pine: A Shave and a Haircut

  1. Pingback: the tree of life and improving the branches « JRFibonacci's blog: partnering with reality

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  4. How majestic! What a beautiful tree. How old do you think it is? I’m glad it’s remained healthy. We have had trouble with a ‘Pine Beetle’ in BC and now in northern Alberta. Not even the coldest winters have eradicated these pests. They eat the sap and then the tree dries up and dies. Millions are spent every year to ‘manage’ they’re spreading. Do you have to water your giant pine? We use to give our Spruce trees really good slow, soaks every other week as well as slow release fertilizing spikes in the spring.

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    • We too have problems with the pine beetle. In fact, two houses over, the owner lost one of two trees a few years back. It was so strange. I remember walking out the back door and suddenly one of his two trees was completely brown. He payed a hefty fee to have it removed, but so far the other tree is unaffected. This pine is actually borrowed landscaping. It sits on our neighbors property but overhangs our yard. I’ve had it checked a few times (don’t want that falling on our house), but they say it’s healthy. I’m guessing it’s at least 50 years old, perhaps older.

      The roots are so deep and established, that it probably gets plenty from ground water. It never shows any signs of distress.

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      • Wow, someone planted it when we were little…amazing hey? It’s seen a lot of change. Did your boys get a little tree to plant in grade one? We did, they’re still in my brothers yard since he lives in the house I grew up in.

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