I’ve mentioned the trio of pom-pommed scotch pines in our front yard before. In examining them this year, prior to the annual trim, I realized that the big tree had cleverly managed to re-assume a “pine tree” shape, as lower branches spread out and higher branches reached for the stars.
We can’t have that. I love trees, but these trees want to be 100 feet tall, and they’re all within six feet of the foundation of my house. They MUST be stunted, lest they reduce my property to rubble over the course of the next six decades.
So I borrowed a 14-foot stepladder from my neighbor (the one who co-owns a local tool-and-equipment rental company), and this evening I set about performing butchery in the name of bonsai. I decided to wear long sleeves and long pants, which may seem a little on the hot side in 90-degree weather, but which probably saved my life. The tree seems to know that I’m allergic to it, and so it defends its shape by attempting to inject me with “essence of pine” anywhere I’ve got bare skin. Last year my forearms were liberally peppered with welts. This year my shirt was liberally gummed up with sap.
Long story short: it’s done. I had to cut waaaay back in some places in order to encourage nice pom-pom shapes, so for the next couple of years the tree is going to look a little scraggly.
It is angry with me. It probably takes what little selfish pleasure there is to be had among treekin in the fact that after two Excedrin PM and a long, hot shower I can still feel my lungs itching. But by Wednesday I’ll be all better, and the tree will still be scraggly.