I took my tree to Tree Court

I took my tree to Tree Court.

I'm breaking up with it.

Me: Your Honor, this tree has not performed its tree duties in the almost seven years it has been taking up residence in my garden.  It refuses to have flaking bark like other paperbark maple trees and has barely grown since it was planted.  At one point, Your Honor, my sister thought it was a weed tree that I just let grow there.

The Judge: Does the tree have anything to say in its defense?

Silence. Crickets chirping.

The Judge:  Carol, do you have any other evidence of the tree's poor performance.

Me:  I do, your honor, and if it pleases the court, I'd like to submit this picture of evidence of the lack of flaking bark.

The Judge: That is compelling evidence. Does the tree have anything to say in its defense?

Silence. Crickets chirping.

The Judge: Is there anyone here today who would like to speak in support of the tree, in support of Carol keeping this tree?

Silence. Crickets chirping.

The Judge: I hereby grant that Carol may break up with this tree and may do so by whatever means she chooses, including cutting it off at the base or digging it out and transplanting it elsewhere.

Me:  Thank you, Your Honor. I do not break up with trees lightly or on a whim so I appreciate you making this as painless as possible for all concerned.

The Judge:  Well, it might not be painless for the tree, but I know you'll do the right thing by it. I trust, too, that you will not enter into a new tree relationship until such time as you have had a chance to carefully consider all options.

Me:  Yes, Your Honor.  I certainly want to avoid a rebound tree that turns out to be worse than this tree, though since this one doesn't flower, doesn't really grow much, doesn't have pretty flaking bark, and doesn't have enough leaves to make a difference with fall color, I'm not sure how I could do much worse.

The Judge:  Trust me, you could do worse. In fact, to facilitate your break up, I'd like you to leave the tree in place for the summer and remove it in the fall. After all, fall is the best time to transplant trees and plant new trees. This will ensure that you don't fall victim to an unsuitable summer tree romance.

Me:  Yes, Your Honor, if it pleases the court, I will not finalize the break up until the fall.

The Judge:  Case Closed. Next.


  1. Have you actually talked to the tree before bringing the judge in? I told a Lilac tree that had been in the ground 10 years that if it didn't bloom I would cut it down. Lo and behold the next spring it bloomed! But your tree does look like it has given up. It has allowed unwelcome lichen and moss to move into where the pretty flaky bark should be. I concur with the Judge. Rip er out.

  2. Trees require so much commitment that I feel so personally offended when they don't do their job! I've put so much effort in and all I ask is that you grow! Is that too much?! Completely agree that you were in the right in this break up.

  3. Carol - love your blog - So, looking at the bark of the tree, I cannot believe this is a paperbark maple. Even if it did not have any 'peeling/flaking' it would look rusty red brown. Post some pics of the leaves. It may be a different type of maple. I have 3 & one does flake/peel greatly. I think I read in Dirr's Manual that when young they show how much they will peel, so one is to buy accordingly. Later today after work & if I can figure out how to do it, (yes, sad, I know) I'll take pics of mine & post here. I don't know how much space you have but I have suggestions: American Fringetree, Yellowwood, Serviceberry & of course, Dogwood. I have all of these. Both the fringetree & yellowwood are in bloom now and are gorgeous. I will say, I too took a tree to court. It was supposed to be a seedling American Smoketree. After 5-7 years I finally accepted that it had too much of the European smoketree in its genes & had the hubs cut it down. Will be in touch! Mary

  4. I have a red buckeye that's 8 years old that has never bloomed for me once. It's like a personal insult. I spite pruned it this spring after not touching it for years. Maybe it'll get the hint.

  5. Fantastic post Carol! Loved it, groetjes Hetty

  6. Summer tree romance. ROFL. ~~Dee

  7. I thought this was very funny, enjoyable, and informative.
    Thank you

  8. Really loved your story, Carol! I have a rose in my garden which has never done well. It hardly blooms, does´t grow much, does´t look healthy and I don´t like its colour. Nevertheless I could´t bring myself to dig it out as I somehow think it would be mean to throw it out.
    Best wishes,


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