Thread: Distraught in California

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  1. #1

    Distraught in California

    I have a large Silver Maple (it was at least 70ft tall) in my backyard (California). Last month it dropped a very large limb that could have killed someone if they were underneath. Being a mother of a 4 year old who spends a lot of time in the backyard, I was very concerned. My gardener told me that he could trim the tree for us. He said his crew had 20 years experience. We said ok. The day of the trimming my husband specifically showed him what to do, only cut down the dead or dying parts. When I came home they were half done topping our tree. I ran to the phone and called my husband home. We told them to stop immediately and called the city and a tree expert came out and said there was nothing to do but finish what was started otherwise it would be lopsided toward the house. I cried for days because I know what damage/mutilation they had done. I have since talked with more tree experts who have told me that the tree looks healthy and should survive. My question there something more we should do? I'm scared to death for this tree. Should we "feed" the tree or should we just leave it alone? I'm so ashamed and mad at myself for hiring my gardener to do this. Thanks for any help. And yes...the gardener was fired.

  2. #2

    RE: Distraught in California

    Gena, do not feel mad at yourself, you did what you thought was right at the time. It's the best we can do.

    Although I garden, I really cannot help you with the tree, I'll leave it to the experts. Hang in there someone will answer, the board is more vocal during the week.

    Visit, the premier site for tree planting, care, and purchase information on the web.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Ocala, FL

    RE: Distraught in California

    Sorry to hear about that, Gena. What your gardener did is unfortunately very common. What's uncommon is that you realized that harm was being done.

    Without seeing a picture it's hard to give too much specific advice... In general, you shouldn't fertilize your tree unless there's some reason to believe that your soil is lacking certain nutrients. Overfertilizing can cause a number of problems. Over time the tree may need extra attention from an experienced arborist, to make sure that the new growth forms with decent structure, as much as possible.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    St. Louis zone 6

    RE: Distraught in California

    It won't help your tree a lick, but a days worth of spreading that company's name around will make you feel better. Heck, even share the company's name with your local urban forester as a company not to recommend. Then share what you did with the tree hackers.

    Last company which made me upset was an auto body shop which did a poor job on a buddy of mine's Camaro even after he forced it back on them with a list of their problems. I went in, took a business card from the stack, manager guy asked me why I wanted it. I told him I worked for a tow truck company and needed it to remember where to tell people not to go after seeing his company's work.

    Make's me feel better just thinking about it.
    Zone 6, St. Louis, MO

  5. #5

    RE: Distraught in California

    Thanks everyone. I'm going to try to include a few pictures here of my poor tree. Maybe that might help with some suggestions.

    We considered legal action, but my gardener is a hispanic man (who knows, maybe illegal alien). He doesn't have much as it is (at least it appears that way). I just don't have it in me to do that. I blame myself for this mess. I learned a lesson, a hard lesson. I will never be fooled again.

    Here's the shocking photos. Hopefully it will help with more suggestions. My husband purchased a tree wound product to put on some of the cuts. One large one in particular nearer to the ground. I know he won't be able to get to the top branches safely.

    Thanks again.

    <img src=>
    <img src=>
    <img src=>

  6. #6
    Super Moderator Oak Quirky Quercus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004

    RE: Distraught in California


    I think we really feel your pain here. I know it's a radical thing to do but you might actually feel better if the tree is removed and a new one is put in. I bet that thing will come back in a few years though but it's pretty butchered.

    Coming from someone who's been somewhat of a walking lawsuit this year, I can tell you that if the gardener has no money or assets you're not going to get anything regardless of the judgement. If he is in the country illegally and gets deported or even if you are able to wipe him out financially, I doubt that would make you feel better. It will probably make the situation worse. The legal process takes forever and without any signed contracts or documents describing what he was supposed to do, it's not going to get anywhere. Also don't forget lawyers cost a ton of money and you still have to pay them if you lose so it's probably just not a good idea to litigate over this matter.

    I can tell you learned from your mistake. Whenever someone does any kind of work for me, I supervise. Which is why I do almost everything myself.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Ocala, FL

    RE: Distraught in California

    Ouch. I don't want to rub it in, but that's really awful.

    Something to keep in mind... when new growth sprouts after a tree has been topped like that, it will be much more "weakly attached" and likely to break and fall off than a branch that has developed normally. You mentioned that your child plays under the tree a lot. Frankly, Taxodium may be right and you might be better off removing the tree and planting a replacement.

    So frustrating to see something like that happen... a perfectly healthy, beautiful tree butchered. Why would they think it was a good thing to remove almost all the foliage?

  8. #8

    RE: Distraught in California

    Certified Arborists can be more expensive, but many times they are will worth the investment. Below is a link where you can find them in your area:

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