Down come the willows

On the way home from work, I researched a fruit tree-growing technique called “espalier”, where the tree branches are guided to grow horizontally at easy picking height. Apparently this technique produces high yields, but takes about two to three years to “bear fruit.” (Pun intended.)

Once I arrived home, I plucked up the courage to go out to the willow trees and begin pruning them. I started with my hand saw and went through a few branches slowly. I cut about 70% of the way through a branch and then hammered a triangular piece of wood into the cut to encourage the branch to slowly come down. I then used my electric chainsaw to start taking small branches off.

At the sound of the chainsaw, my neighbor came out and volunteered to help me take down the two willows. I regretted surprising them with the noise, and the neighbor’s spouse lamented the loss of the flowered bush/tree that I cut down just outside the fence. But the husband was cheerful and positive and seemed eager to help me help my garden prosper, so roughly thirty minutes later, we had one tree down, and the second tree nearly cleared except for the “crown branch”, the tallest branch at the top. We were out of daylight by then.

There is tons of wood branch debris for me to clear. That’s definitely going to eat up an entire weekend day.

Willows truly are beautiful trees. I will need to properly express my gratitude to them for the gift of their wood.

The fruit trees will live in this corner, espaliered. (Night photo has been retouched)

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