Friday, December 25, 2015

Ye Olde Tree and Me Historee

So, here's my story.

I became very interested with plants and trees while I was a wee lad.  I used to have my mom take me to the plant nursery and look at all the immense variety.  Sometimes we would buy a plant to put in the front yard.  I knew nothing about them except what I thought looked neat.  If the sign mentioned that a tree grew to be 100 feet tall, this was incredible to me since I was only about 4 feet tall, and since we didn't go to the forest, there were no trees that size around me and it was a rather alien concept.  We didn't have the internet, so looking this stuff up was almost impossible.

I used to make rock gardens and terrariums, but like any kid that age, interest would wane after a short time.  True love would have to wait.  House plants were still pretty uncommon, mostly reserved for hippies and girls that wore ponchos and burned incense.

When I started driving, the first job I took on was pruning.  Not really good pruning, but I was an ace at trimming hedges to razor precision.  I started learning about real pruning over the years.

Jump ahead a number of years.  I think I was in a restaurant that had some potted Japanese Maples, and it fulfilled my design and nature sensibilities simultaneously.  I just had to go out and buy one right away.  Well, within just a few days of that revelation, I happened upon a bonsai show.  Before that, I'd seen bonsai and was fascinated, but had no real way to become more educated or exposed.  So that was the biggie.  At that point my interest really took off, and I absorbed everything I could about trees in a very short time.  I learned to prune the right way and could identify most trees among with their botanical names.  I collected a bunch.

I remained a cabinetmaker and remodeling contractor during this time.  But as years went by, I had the urge to make pruning part of my business.  I would prune trees for friends and clients, but never actively sought work.  Remaining a hobby wasn't enough.

Over the past few years, I've studied trees and pruning extensively, and fine-tuned the craft.  The thing I realize the most is how badly managed almost all trees are, including by so-called experts.  I have an obsession now with making trees absolutely as good as they can be.

Finally, in the last couple years, I decided to make a go of it, and tree management is now a fair chunk of the work I do.  It's the most fun I have at work, and I'm every bit as good at it as any of the trades I practiced for many years.  Being a perfectionist leads one to strive to be great at multiple things.  If I don't get really good at something, I just give up. I suppose as I get older that I won't be able to do hard remodeling labor, but can prune trees well into my 80's or 90's, though I probably won't be climbing tall trees at that point.

The end.


  1. Thank you for teaching me all about your tree knowledge :)

  2. You're welcome! You're officially the first of millions of future TreeDawg Knights! Now, go get a tree.