Saturday, November 20, 2010

Farewell to the Plum Tree


One of my very favorite things about my garden is being able to pick something and eat it standing right there. One of my very favorite things to pick and eat standing in my garden is a plum. One of the oldest plants (second oldest only to the wisteria) is my Santa Rosa plum tree. One of my favorite garden ceremonies is the Ceremony of the First Plum. One of my least favorite things to think about right now is that I need to take my plum tree out. It has been declining in the past few years, producing less and not growing as vigorously as in years past. This summer I noticed a big problem...one of the larger branches was dead and was playing host to carpenter bees. Now the tree has sap seeping from many of the branches and I have had to make the difficult decision to remove the tree.
I want to do it soon so that I can replace it with a bareroot tree or possibly two this winter. I need to have a Santa Rosa...I love them too much to not have one. But I believe if I prune the trees according to Dave Wilson's system that he calls Backyard Orchard Culture I should be able to have  at least two if not three fruit trees. As every gardener knows, the compensation for losing a plant is being able to buy a plant. Or two. See, that almost makes me not sad.
I will need to be careful when taking the tree down.  Carpenter bees overwinter as adults in their wood tunnels and emerge in the spring. So the question is, what will happen when I take the tree down? Males are unable to sting so I'm not worried about them; it would be the females that scare me. In any case, I will proceed with caution and plan to store the wood in the side yard. That way they can remain in the limbs until spring if they like, at which time they will need to find new homes. And in a year or two I will get one last bit of enjoyment from my tree when I have a fire some cold winter night. Maybe I will think up a special Plum Tree Fire Ceremony involving a jar of jam made from the plums of that tree...I should probably set one aside now.  I hope to be looking out the window at some new fruit trees when I have that fire.

9 comments:

Carol said...

Farewell to the plum tree... it sounds like you are treating it with great dignity as you remove it, giving it all the respect it deserves for having served you so well.

MA said...

I think you need to concoct some kind of cocktail using essence of plum jam in honor of this tree. And toast it at the fire.

Gail said...

I am sorry you have to take your PLum tree down~But, love knowing that you are caring for the bees living in it! It would be so nice to be able to have some thing carved from a piece of the wood. gail

Cindy, MCOK said...

I know you'll miss that tree but hope the next generation will bring you even more joy! I like Gail's suggestion of carving something from the wood!

Blackswamp_Girl said...

I agree with Carol, MA and Gail! (And can't wait to see what tree(s) you get as replacements... that's definitely the fun part! :)

Kathy said...

Yes, we eagerly await your choice of new trees! I am glad you discovered the problems before it fell down and someone got hurt.

xoxoxo said...

Maybe you can carve a plum out of the plum tree while eating some jam next to the fire of plum tree wood! Warmth,nourishment and entertainment! What a great and giving tree.

Commonweeder said...

I had to remove my plum tree too this year. Black Knot has always been a great problem here. That was sad, but there is always something to celebrate - like my blogoversary and Giveaways! I hope you'll visit.

Leanne said...

Okay, I know I am postpartum and all, but I am tearing up over the old plum tree here! I like your ideas for using it and the cermo in the winter. I loved that tree, too. Farewell, tree.