Well, ok, maybe not the actual Devil... but they are mean machines, and do need to be used with care.
Here's why: it's a small Ash tree, surrounded by overlong grass, which has been strimmed several times in the past couple of years.
Strimmed, "a bit carelessly", I should say...
That's pretty horrendous, isn't it?
That left-hand stem is probably going to die shortly, as the damage to the bark goes a lot more than half-way round the stem.
Trees can survive for a surprisingly long time with damaged bark, as long as the damage does not go all the way around the stem - when that happens, it's known as ring-barking, which will a kill a tree for sure.
This sort of damage is still a death sentence, though: that left-hand stem will not last much longer.
But at least we have the other stem, don't we? It has a couple of scabby damaged areas, but it appears to be mostly ok, don't you think?
Well, let's scoot round to the other side of it, shall we?
This stem has also been savaged by the strimmer.
Again, trees are remarkably resilient, and at present this particular little fellow is still producing good healthy leaves all over, but just look at that damage!
Between the two lots of damage to the two stems, I made the decision that there was no point wasting time trying to nurture this small tree, as it would inevitably die from all this damage.
And it was a self-set one, rather than something which had been carefully planted... but with all the Ash dieback disease, I am always rather keen to hang on to small Ash trees if I possibly can. But not in this case.
So, alas, out it came.
In it's place, I'm planting something a little more decorative, and this time, I am putting a couple of canes and a tree protector around the base, so that the heavy-handed strimmer bloke can see and avoid it.Incidentally, this is a perfectly valid demonstration of why, when I plant small trees, I insist on making a cleared area around them: a small bed, if you like. Many small trees find it hard to compete with grass, when they are small, so it's a kindness to the tree to remove the grass around the base. It allows you to water the new tree more easily, and all the water goes to the tree and not the grass: and it prevents exactly this sort of accident.
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