Courage at Twilight: Pruning Pine Trees

I ducked under Austrian Pine boughs to step around its trunk to prune the Arctic Willow. The blunt end of a lopped pine bough jabbed me hard and square on the temple.  I swore, thanked God it wasn’t my eye, and trudged off for a saw to cut off the offending limb.  Dad’s neighbor, Terry, regularly shapes the enormous Blue Spruce that sits just inside his property line.  One day he decided the bottom boughs were too low, and cut them all off to a height of about eight feet.  A little aggressive, I thought.  But Dad chose to admire how the pruning had opened up the view of the neighboring yards, “park-like.”  We looked at the Spruce’s companion Austrian pine on our side of the property line, and decided its bottom limbs drooped too low.  We had to duck to walk under them, and Dad hit them when riding his lawn mower.  He consented to me providing a “slight haircut” to the pine.  Underneath their canopy, I discovered a mass of dead limbs invisible from outside.  I lopped off all those I could reach.  I carefully pruned the lowest hanging limbs, lifting the canopy bottom up a couple of feet.  The result looked natural and less cluttered, bringing a better balance to the landscaping.  Mom and Dad were really pleased.  Following my normal clean-up routine, I snipped the boughs into short lengths that could be compacted into the garbage can, which these days seems to be filling up long before pick-up day.

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