Wednesday, 22 August 2012

A Crack in the Liquidamber




The Liquidamber Tree, or American Sweetgum, was planted by the last family who lived in our house so it must be around eighteen to twenty years old. Every autumn its leaves turn from green, to yellow, to red and then to deep maroon. A beautiful tree.

From the grass, it looks lush and sturdy, but this is deceptive. If you walk around the tree, one half of it is split, broken and waiting for surgery after one night this week when we had strange, localised winds that rushed through the trees on the edge of a storm. In the morning, I looked out of the window to find a main limb of the tree splitting away.


The following day, the split had grown and another limb had fallen, fully leaved, across the garden.
We sawed and cleared as much as we could, but already the weight of the broken branches had torn the trunk in half and the upper branches look precarious. A tree surgeon is to be called as the whole of the right side needs to be pruned and I expect those upper branches will need to be felled.


The extreme wetness of this spring and summer, followed by a few hot , sunny weeks, has made the tree grow more vigorously than in other years. We wonder if the extra growth and heavy foliage has overburdened its branches, The wood of the Liquidamber is known for its brittle quality. This year, even the stronger stems could not cope.


Piles of foliage are waiting in the yard, to be composted or burned. As many logs as possible will be saved for the fire.



I only hope that an expert tree cutter will be able to reshape both sides of the tree so that it can survive and start again.









12 comments:

Jan said...

It is a beautiful tree in the fall. We had one in our front yard for a number of years, but some sort of disease killed it. We never found out what it was, but the sweetgum tree across the street died too. I really missed the fall colors.

Bovey Belle said...

Oh, your beautiful tree. It has been decimated. I hope that the tree surgeon can shape it as best he can but it is going to look like it's had a crew-cut! We are certainly having some freak weather this year.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Such a beautiful name for a tree. It must have given you such pleasure over the years and now the tragedy of its demise. I do hope a good tree surgeon can save at least some of it so that it can regenerate. Trees are almost like people, aren't they? One gets really attached to them.

Kath said...

yes I hope so too, it would be very sad to lose such beautiful tree.
There is one on a walk we do, every autumn we stop to admire that tree, it just takes my breath away.

Toffeeapple said...

How sad to see your poor tree being ripped apart. I do hope the surgeon can save it.

Em Parkinson said...

Whath a shame! It's such a beautiful tree. Lovely to see it in other seasons too. Stunning.

Karen said...

Yes, sweetgum trees are notorious here in the States for being short-lived as is my Forest Pansy redbud that I planted in my garden eight years ago. My mother had one planted near her driveway and I was always annoyed by the seedpods that fell - spiny little buggers.

I love that you all call them Liquidamber. I've never heard that before.

BilboWaggins said...

Poor, poor tree. Prognosis doesn't look good from those pictures, does it? Hope you and the tree surgeon can do something. Fingers crossed for next installment.

The high winds we've had this summer are so destructive when trees and shrubs are in leaf, I'm surprised there hasn't been more damage up here.

Yarrow said...

Such a shame, I hope you can save your lovely tree.
I love the donkey foal on your previous post, how precious :D

Down by the sea said...

What a dreadful shame. I hope your beautiful tree recovers. We have one in our front garden that we planted about 15 years ago and it is one of our favourite trees too.
Sarah x

Crafty Green Poet said...

such a beautiful tree, i hope that it can be nursed back to health

Morning's Minion said...

Sweet gum, the generic species, is common in Kentucky. It doesn't grow in New England or the interior west, so the one at the edge of our carport has been a novelty. Several large branches have come down since we've lived here and J. has pruned to remove splintered limbs. The tree now has a lop-sided shape, but the autumn color is beautiful. And the cats like to roll the gum balls around the yard.