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Topless Trees are Indecent!

Topless trees are indecent!  I saw this bumper sticker the other day and would love to find these stickers and give one to everyone I know.

No Tree Topping!

In case you didn’t already know, topping trees is a detrimental practice that should almost never be done. I can’t think of a reason to inflict serious wounds to a tree – I mean, what did the tree ever do to you!?  It is done fairly regularly by arborists working for utility companies to the canopy of trees near power lines. In many cases, this can be easily prevented – do not plant a fast growing large lawn tree that will get 50+ feet under powerlines to begin with! If a large lawn tree is already established underneath the power lines,  it will be safer and less costly in the long run to remove and replace it with a tree better suited for the location.

Topped Trees:(

The damage done by large cuts, especially on the end of limbs will cause structural failures in the future. which can be extremely dangerous.  Trees are incapable of closing off large wounds in most situations without pathogens getting in and taking hold.  The tree, or at least the damaged portion begins to rot from the inside and will do so until it dies.  That portion of the tree then becomes weak and can break off from the tree, damaging property or injuring those underneath.

Tree Topping Before + After

Anatomy of a topped tree

Most of the time, where the large limbs were topped, multiple limbs sprout and grow vigorously without the necessary spacing or growth angle that is needed for structural strength.  Combine this with the rotting base from which it grows, and eventually this will lead to the trees losing large sections during storms or other adverse conditions.

Rapid growth after topping - ugly, isn't it?!

Let me offer an alternative to topping:

Pollarding.  Stay tuned….

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Spark Board – Living Room

We had started an inspiration board (we’re calling ours ‘spark boards‘ because they ‘spark’ our projects into inception) for our living room awhile back when we started our coffee table turned ottoman project.  We slowly began adding to it as we found things we loved and here’s what we came up with.  The room still isn’t quite complete, but this is our road map to where we want to go with it!

Living Room Spark Board

Components of this Spark Board:


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Zoysia – It’s Not Just For the Golf Course!

Zoysia (play /ˈzɔɪziə/)[2] is a genus of creeping grasses native to southeast and east Asia (north to China and Japan) and Australasia. These species, commonly called zoysia or zoysiagrass, are found in coastal areas or grasslands. The genus is named after the Austrian botanist Karl von Zois. (Thank you Wikipedia)

So what does this mean to the average homeowner?  Well, if you want a tough, dense low maintenance lawn and minimal environmental impact, Zoysia is the way to go.

Zoysia on a golf course

Zoysia - front lawn (not ours!)

Here in middle Tennessee the active growing period is from mid to late May all the way into November.  When I say active, this turf-grass is about the laziest grass you can get (which translates into low maintenance for you!).  It is a very slow grower and therefore has minimal water and fertilizer requirements.  This saves a homeowner 3 fold:

  • Reduced frequency of mowing (once every 2 weeks)
  • Reduced fertilizer (Aproximately 1lb per 1000sq ft.)
  • Much lower water requirements (1-2″ month during the summer for sustainability)

Zoysia Zones of Adaptation

Heres a few other bonuses:

  • Because it is highly resilient, Zoysia is often used on ball fields, fairways and border greens on golf courses. This grass grows extremely dense which helps to suppress weeds.
  • There is no need for annual coring and reseeding, which is a continuous battle with cool season grasses such as Fescue and Kentucky Bluegrass.

The only drawback to Zoysia is the fact that it is a warm season grass, so it does go dormant in the winter and turns a golden beige color.  You can always over seed the Zoysia with Annual Winter Rye grass to maintain a green lawn year round.

Dormant Zoysia (again, not our house)

It also is a little bit more expensive on the front end as it needs to be installed as sod rather than seed.  Think of it as a turf carpet!  I managed to talk Meredith into letting me tear out (well, really just mow down to the soil surface and then lay the sod directly on top) the hodgepodge of Bermuda and Fescue grass this past fall (which grows like a weed in the summer – I was having to mow twice a week when we’d get a lot of rain!) and have the Zoysia sod put in.

Without question, all the pros outweigh the cons.  The very low water requirement that this turf has could just about pay for the cost of installing Zoysia in a year or two, depending on where you live.  Or by having your maintenance costs cut in half by not having to mow weekly!

Either way you will save and help to end the waste surrounding Fescue and other cool season grasses that are used in hot, dry locations.

We are looking forward to May when our Zoysia wakes up and turns a lush green!  Expect photos soon!


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