Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2007 4:27 pm
Location: Shorewood, IL

Should we tear these trees out?

Hi all. Noob here.

We have these two trees in out backwayd that aren't growing very well. They were both plated 4 years ago, and as you can see, they aren't making much progess. I've also linked to another Cleaveland pear planted at the same time, that started as the same size to compare it to. The other tree is an Autumn Blaze Maple. Should we tear these out and start over?


Green Thumb
Posts: 439
Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2006 11:17 am
Location: Midcoast Maine, Zone 5b

I just don't have enough information based on those photos to give solid advice. If you were a client one of the first questions I'd be asking you would be "how long do you intend to be in this house?". If your answer is more than ten to twelve years I would suggest you get rid of the ornamental pears. They don't age well and I never use them in my design practice. I would also want to look at the base of the trunks to gauge planting depth and soil drainage. The cultural requirements of trees and lawn grasses are quite different. I usually create an eight foot (or more) in diameter mulch ring around the base of trees rather than planting grass directly up to their trunks. I also raise them a few inches above the lawn grade. Do not, however, create those crazy mulch volcanoes around the trunks - the mulch should never be heaped up against the trunk. I would have to have a better idea of the total property to give you good alternate suggestions.
Lawns generally want more water and more nitrogen than is good for trees. I also see people going crazy with fertilizers way beyond the actual needs of the grasses.

User avatar
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1596
Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 8:42 pm
Location: Summerville, GA, Zone 7a

I agree with Maine.

The other thing is, they are still alive - I would mulch as Maine suggested, and try feeding the trees some bone and bloodmeal (in the Spring).

Sometimes it takes a while for something to get established but 4 years is plenty - I'm wondering if the holes were dug and mixed properly.

Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2007 10:38 am
Location: Chicago, Illinois

Tear it out!

I live in NE Illinois too, and have always had difficulty with most Red Maples. I think they do better further south. And even when they grow well, their typical maple "bush" shape often seems unattractive, with confused branching.

So I say you should tear them out this fall and plant more attractive trees. Are you interested in large specimen trees, short ornamentals, or some kind of screening tree? Let your needs be your guide. I've planted English Oaks that are doing very well...but really take 100 years to develop.

Another tree that grows very well here, and grows quite fast, is the American Elm ... I grow them from seeds in my back yard and transplant around the neighborhood. Altho they ARE susceptible to Dutch Elm Disease, with the arrival of the Emerald Ash Borer, it is getting so that ALL trees have some kind of killer pest. And you can't beat an Americal Elm for beauty in all respects: if they die, just replant. They grow so fast you can almost see the difference from week to week. Prune after first frost to diminish attacks by Dutch Elm beetles.

Return to “Trees, Shrubs, and Hedges”