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Help with huge tree in front of house!


WJT
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We have a huge tree right in front of our house. I am not sure if it is a proper cypress but is in that family if not. We quite like the way it looks coming down the drive and really hate to cut it down. But it is huge and really blocks light. My question is, if we don't decide to cut it down is it possible to cut the top and the sides of a cypress tree?

I love cypress trees and in fact just ordered some seeds from e-bay to plant around the garden. However most of the ones you see in Provence or Italy for example get very tall but stay thin. So I wonder if this is not natural and they are cut on the sides to make them more slender or are they perhaps different than my rather fat one. Thanks in advance.

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Hi WJT,

I am speaking here not from a gardening aspect but from that of the interest of the wellbeing of your property.

How near to your property is the tree?

If it is close, what region do you live in and how wet is it there?

If you are in a wet region and your tree is close you the house you would need to consider the heave which will be caused if you cut the tree down.  Ie a build up of moisture in the ground as the tree is no longer there to dry it out.

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[quote user="Just Katie "]

Hi WJT,

I am speaking here not from a gardening aspect but from that of the interest of the wellbeing of your property.

How near to your property is the tree?

If it is close, what region do you live in and how wet is it there?

If you are in a wet region and your tree is close you the house you would need to consider the heave which will be caused if you cut the tree down.  Ie a build up of moisture in the ground as the tree is no longer there to dry it out.

[/quote]

Hi Katie, it is VERY near. I took these photos after posting this thread, don't ask me why but don't feel comfortable showing the front of my house on the forum (perhaps, not to get stick after the Bulgaria thread [:$]) so it is at a very strange angle. It is literally a few feet in front of the house as you can clearly see from the second photo.[:-))] I am also sure you can see why we want to do something about it as well. We are in the Dordogne so do get quite a bit of rain here. Good point you brought up, we will have to think very carefully if we decide to take it down. Thank you.

Bugbear, I changed the title hoping someone could let me know if it is possible to pollard a cypress. The bottom photo shows what I have just ordered from ebay and what I would like it to look like. Much much smaller and very thin. By the way, I thought I was ordering seedings from ebay but realised they are seeds so probably won't see anything from them in my lifetime if at all.[:(]

[IMG]http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a120/HIF/PA190027.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a120/HIF/PA190012.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a120/HIF/6e42_1_b.jpg[/IMG]

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Hi WJT

Just writing from a gardener's point of view.

You've got a cypress of some kind - there are about a dozen sub-species.  The ones that grow in Italy and the Med in abundance are the Mediterranean cypress (Cupressus

Sempervivens).  They can be either columnar (narrow and tall) OR spreading

depending on age and location. 

Not so likely to be a North American cypress (chamaecyparis) which are very similar but faster growing.  The dreaded Leylandii (Cupressocyparis Leylandii) are a cross between the two.

The Med Cypress left to its own devices will eventually hit 20metres tall (70ft) with a spread of 1-6metres;  a Leylandii can hit 35m (120ft) high  and 5m wide.

I would not have one near the house - I know what Katie is saying (I think you're a surveyor, aren't you, Katie?) but I would still have it down if it were mine.  You could try chopping and trimming but european cypresses are generally grown as specimens rather than as hedges or trimmed.  No harm trying, to see how it turns out but you'll not get regrowth from old wood so it could look a bit brown and bitty.

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WJT, it does seem that you need an expert here.  I do not understand how different trees react to being chopped back etc but seeing you are in a wet area you would really need to think twice about removing it completely.  By the way is there any evidence of cracking or bulging to your external walls.  Another consideration is the position of your drains etc.
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The term pollard and Cupressus shouldn't really be used in the same sentence. Pollarding is a remedial technique associated with broad leafed trees. Whatever you do to the tree it's going to look pants, however good the tree surgeon/arborist.

Cassis is spot on, take it out. Just Katie is an expert and has raised crucial structural questions. To minimise heave I would take the tree out at a time when it is absorbing the least amount of moisture from the ground, anytime from now to perhaps late January...and no I'm not volunteering[:D] But you might want to leave some of the stump above ground and have a go at carving into summit'?

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[quote user="Chris Head"]

The term pollard and Cupressus shouldn't really be used in the same sentence. Pollarding is a remedial technique associated with broad leafed trees. Whatever you do to the tree it's going to look pants, however good the tree surgeon/arborist.

[/quote]

Chris is correct of course but to be fair I didn't know it was a cyprus at the time I gave that recommendation.. If it were mine I'd remove it, it's far too close to the house and they are very shallow rooted.

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 It is good to hear it has shallow roots, by the way the house is built on solid rock into a side of a hill so hopefully it would do no damage as far as the structure is concerned. However, I am disappointed I can't make it smaller and thinner but what Chris says makes a lot of sense and I am sure it would just look awful.[:(]  Now just to convince my husband that we need to cut it down, he likes it.

Thank you all for the advice. [:)]

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[quote user="Chris Head"]Right WJT, take him out to lunch, I'll nip round, drop the thing then hotfoot it and when you return you could exclaim your absolute horror that anybody could do such a wicked thing![:D][/quote]

Deal Chris!  Just let me know when. [:D]

Edit: By the way, I have a few hundred more you could do while you are at it. [:-))]

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Oh well, worth a try. [:D] On a serious note,we only have the one fat cedar or cypress whatever it is [:)]. The others are mixed but I do think there is quite a bit of oak. In fact it is something we need to look into, a neighbour recently told me it is commercial forestry. We are real novices as you can gather so we have a lot to learn. Obviously it would be very good to harvest for firewood etc..in the future. As much as I hate the idea of cutting down trees if not necessary, however, I would like quite a few (lots actually) taken down to open a view.[:$]

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Oh crikey WJT, don't feel bad about taking trees down, they were planted with a view to harvesting them in the future. I don't have the same sentiment about specimen trees by the way!

Are you able/willing to carry out the work yourself? If you have to pay a pro to take down and convert the trees for you then it may very well end up being an expensive excercise.

Could you post or email any pictures?

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No, we are not able to carry out the work ourselves [:$]. We do have a neighbour that said he got a substantial amount of money for some of his timber. He also said that our woods was commercial foresty,  I do know that the land adjoining ours is used for this purpose. I have really just met this particular neighbour so didn't ask any further details. If it were to be an expensive exercise then we would simply not do it. We love the trees. It is just the area that blocks views that I would look into.

This is a new computer so I don't have any photo's on here and it is too dark to take any at the moment. However, I did take one the other day and posted it on the "Autumn Feel" thread, but I didn't save it. If you go to the link below, it is about half way down page.  It is not very good but perhaps you can get an idea of what I mean when I say open up the view a bit more. I will take a few photos tomorrow of the woods that is really more to the right, that isn't shown in the photo.

http://www.completefrance.com/cs/forums/2/800711/ShowPost.aspx#800711

 By the way the stone macon did say that they were mostly oak and we do get truffles there as well but we don't have a clue how to find them. The farmer has come down with his little dog in the past. The stone macon said he would show us a very easy way to find them without a dog. So hopefully, will see if this is true or not.[:)]

Edit: Chris, the statement in the first paragraph is in relation to firewood.

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[quote user="Chris Head"]

A boy could have an awful lot of fun in them thar woods with a few chainsaws! Lemme at 'em....just give me enough beer and a box of Cassis' relatives and you wouldn't see me for days[:D]

[/quote]

Chris, I 'm not sure what to make of that response but perhaps that answers my question, I don't know. [8-)]   In any case it started out with the giant cedar/cypress in the front of the house. Dare I say I have another question about trees!! Perhaps I will start a new thread. [:-))]

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