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Honored Advisor

Pruning out of season?

Mike and I spent an hour or so yesterday afternoon, with three sets of pruners and a chainsaw in hand, whacking back shrubs and trees at our old house. I know it should have been done while everything was dormant, but it's been such a cold and disagreeable spring, this was the first day we could be here that we felt like getting it done.

Most of it was limbing things up, so a riding mower can pass underneath easily. Trees that were saplings when we left that house to make the farm in Carolina are pretty nice specimens now.

The hardest ones to deal with were the crepe myrtles we planted for each child when they were young. We had set a row of three - white for our son, purple and pink for each of the girls - alongside the path to their backyard playhouse. It's gone now, but the bushes have grown into small trees.

Their trunks had not been disciplined, apparently since we had left. They were thicket-y, too many of them, and with too many small branches sticking out everywhere. I style mine down south with 3-5 trunks, no branches for several feet up, then let the top branches do what they will. Come July and August, we have a gorgeous blooming canopy in some spots, a pretty specimen standing alone in others.

After taking out the dead wood, trimming up the thicket of smaller sticks, and telling Mike which trunks to eliminate, they looked naked, but in a nice way. He was really pleased with the results...I told him they will need attention again, to figure out which few trunks will form the final effect, in a year or two.

Another analogy this morning here: some problems, especially when it comes to living things, cannot be solved overnight. What could and should have been dealt with in smaller increments, with a quick snip of shears, can require a long session with a chainsaw to begin making right. Even then, a good amount of wait-and-see may be required.

I think this is a lot like other situations in life. Things get let go to pot, little by little, and then it takes major measures to bring them back into the world of good manners and proper conduct. My bushes have been living like heathen...makes me wonder if I have been doing he same thing.

What good habits have you let slide, or what bad ones have you let get the upper hand of you? Is it too late to get them under control? Are you willing to pick up your chainsaw and go to work?
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