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Friday, April 5, 2013

Tree Removals ~ Springtime BRG

Letting the sun shine in for the rhododendrons 

After a long, cold winter (and chilly spring!), the Gardens is getting ready for the new season. Yesterday a City of Mississauga forestry crew was hard at work taking down six large trees near the rhododendron and azalea beds in the West Garden.

Old, crowded pine trees cut down and removed in public gardens, Mississauga.
Top-of-hill Tree Removal at BRG
 Felling large trees that are growing among the rhododendrons demands precision, and the crew handled the work admirably: Not one rhodo was damaged in the process. The tree in the above picture is one of three dead or dying pines located at the top of the hill (looking south) overlooking Lake Ontario.

Felled pine tree and stump in rhododendron bed, Port Credit.
Felled Pine Tree in Rhododendron Bed 
 The second of the three pines at the same top-of-hill location (looking north) was felled down the slope towards the Lake. Notice the proximity of the rhododendrons to the tree stump.

Tree trunk and stump of newly-felled pine points to Lake Ontario at BRG Port Credit.
Downhill View of Felled Pine Tree at BRG
 Here is another view of the same tree as above, but looking south. It shows there's little room for error, and how precisely the tree was felled. I, for one, was impressed. The blue in the background is Lake Ontario. The top lookout and the 'Hot Dawn' rhodos bed are located to the left, just out of view.

Trunk of a silverbark willow after branches trimmed, BRG Port Credit, ON
Silverbark Willow (centre) Near BRG Main Rhodo Bed
 The Silverbark Willow (twin shortened trunks, middle) is located just to the right of the split rail fencing that marks the Brueckner heritage rhododendron beds just south of the main entrance.

During a wind storm last year, the silverbark had sent out a loud cracking sound, startling several visitors who looked at it with alarm. The tree didn't fall, but it did list a bit, and rested one of its huge limbs on its Black Willow neighbour.

Now it is gone; the Black Willow is also being watched for health issues. These large trees pre-date the BRG's establishment by many years, and are always monitored for health and safety, says BRG Head Gardener, Para Kanp, adding that new trees are continually being planted around the gardens.

City of Mississauga forestry truck and crew felling trees at BRG Port Credit.
City of Mississauga Forestry Crew at BRG
Here's the view that greeted Gardens visitors yesterday: The crane truck and crew working at the main heritage beds. Note the tree trunks just to the right of the truck: The fresh cut 'circles' are the silverbark willow in the previous picture.

Also note the 'snow fence' around the rhodo and azalea bed (lower right) is still in place after other snow fencing around the gardens has been removed for the season.

That's because this bed, one of the first when you enter from the parking lot, is the first chance dogs get to 'lift a leg'. Since dog P is very harmful to rhodos, this fencing will prevent them from damaging the sensitive rhodos until a permanent (and more attractive) barrier can be put in place.

Men in orange safety vests sit beside trees and white forestry truck at BRG in Port Credit. They are half way through removing dead, large pine trees.
Forestry Crew CofM Main Rhododendron Bed BRG
On a break for a late lunch, the crew in orange safety vests catches a bit of warmth from the early-spring sun that off-set the day's cold brisk winds. The wooden obelisk (center of photo) is the trunk of a large dead pine that they've limbed in preparation for taking down. The twin trunks of the silverbark willow (right, angled) is also ready for final removal.

Pine tree trunk towers over rhododendrons in early Spring, overlooking Lake Ontario in Port Credit Gardens.
Tall Pine Trunk Before Removal at BRG
The last of the three old pines from the top of the hill overlooking the Lake will also have been felled by now, and all leaf and branch debris cleaned up.

A side benefit of removing large trees, says Para Kanp, is that with the shady canopy gone, more sunlight will be able to reach the rhodos. While they do like some shade, and wind protection that the large trees afford, rhodos appreciate a bit more sunlight. And since more sun can result in more flowers, Kanp foresees a great blooming season for the rhododendrons.

Kanp, assisted by Gardens volunteers, will be the leader-guide for the BRG's annual gardens tour. This free tour takes place from 2 to 4 p.m. the last Sunday in May. This year, the date is May 26. Come down and bring your cameras and questions for the Master Gardener.