Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Looking For a Silver Lining

Acer palmatum 'Bloodgood' was planted in fall of 2008 and by the following spring it was a slender but striking tree. What a pop of red, with the promise of an elegant shape.
Three years later it had filled out and had more presence. The wine colored foliage was spectacular.
By 2013 it had formed a lovely tree shape, and had enough height to give some shade to the deck and patio. From inside the house I could see it framed perfectly in the window as I stood at the kitchen sink.
Last year it looked as beautiful as ever, but it was struggling. It had developed phytophthora, a root rot that had the potential to be fatal. And it was.
2014. Ailing, but still lovely.
Bartlett treated it all last year with a systemic root drench, but it did not work. This spring the tree is dead.

I have lost more trees and shrubs than I can count. You replant and go on. But losing this 'Bloodgood' Japanese maple is such a big disappointment. It was so striking, just the right accent at the corner of the deck, and it was becoming a shapely and shady tree.

I need to find something good in this loss. Is there a silver lining? Maybe.

The wobbly, rotting cedar deck is going to be replaced this year with a composite (Trex type) one, and we want to redesign it to make it lower, closer to the stone patio level, and eliminate most of the railings. Without the tree at the corner we can expand to that side and gain more space for what is currently a cramped, cut-off deck shape, only 9 feet wide and oddly angled.
The dead 'Bloodgood' maple standing on the left, the elevated and too-small cedar deck next to it.
Without the tree or boxwoods there, we can expand to the left side and have a proper deck.

The row of boxwoods can come out -- they did not survive winter very well, and although they lived, they look awful. With the tree gone, the boxwoods can go too, and the space can be opened up on that side for a larger deck.

Will that be the silver lining, the compensation for losing this spectacular tree? A bigger, new deck?

As of yesterday the tree is gone. My beautiful wine red Japanese maple is a stump. Boxwoods are gone too.

Now the deck looks even more cramped and oddly shaped (there was a reason for the chopped up shape, but that will be in a future post about rebuilding and redesigning the deck.)

Call the deck contractor. I want to make the best of this. I need to think of this as the silver lining to a very disappointing loss.


  1. Commiserations on your loss! It was a beautiful tree. But now you will have space for something new-- right? Right. Perhaps for that really key spot you could treat yourself to a more mature tree.

    I lost a sweet little crab to fireblight this year. Sniff. And I dealt with my ratty overgrown kerria problem (not unlike your red twig dogwoods) by having the nice young men with power equipment take it out. Now comes the debate about what to put there instead...

    1. How I hate taking things out -- even when it's an improvement and new things can be planned and planted! I'm glad to know someone out there sympathizes. Sorry about your pretty crabapple. . . they are such lovely trees (I don't have any so I must admire others).