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ASK DR. RICH!
Rich Simons | Upper East 11th


Last month you were leading us on a tour dealng with tree husbandry on a month-by-month basis. But due to “space considerations” you paused at the end of June. Can we hope that you will now guide us through the rest of the year? – t.m.

Photo illustration Art Olson.
Click on image to enlarge.

Of course! We begin with
JULY: In this month, the June Gloom is well behind us and things are beginning to heat up. If you didn’t have the foresight some years back to plant a large shade tree, you will not be happy with yourself. If you DID plant that tree and now understand how much water it’s going to need this month, you will not be happy with the Water Authority.

AUGUST: IF that tree happens to be a ficus tree (“ficus andronicus”), this month is all about hate. Hate for whoever planted that @#$%&! tree! Because now you know that “ficus” is Ethiopian (or something) for FIG. And little ittty-bittty figs are what you will be walking on every morning. Sadly, there are very few remedies for this. You can either purchase a Zamboni-like riding vacuum cleaner, or rent about a dozen racoons or skunks. Every morning you will awake to a pristine patio/yard. You will be able to enjoy it for, oh . . . about an hour.

SEPTEMBER: According to our Guru of Gardening, Pat Welsh, this is the month when you must pamper your citrus and avocado trees. You’ve got to water them just right or the fruit might split, and then there is the brown rot. And the white mold. Next thing you know you’re spraying this fungicide all over the place, cleaning up the ground and pruning the tips of branches. TIP: They sell fruit in supermarkets everywhere.

OCTOBER: According to The Book, this is the ideal month in which to plant trees. That is, of course, if you’re not exhausted from doing all you have to do to take care of the trees you already have! The good news: you get a break this month from watering your deciduous fruit trees. It says here that you actually WANT your trees to drop their leaves and “pack it in” for the winter. Yay!

NOVEMBER: This month you get to correct your booboos and move all those trees you planted in the wrong place. If you do the math you will quickly caculate that the digging involved will be precisely two times the amount of labor involved in the original placement. You may be forgiven if you take the attitude: “Just WHO SAYS they are in the wrong place?!”

DECEMBER: Of course the only tree we are concerned about this month is our CHRISTMAS tree! And of course we want that tree to be as FRESH as possible, don’t we? Yes – smells better, lasts longer. And what better way to assure this than to slice it down yourself just when you need it. So grab your favorite saw and in the dead of night sneak into Farmer Brown’s forest and take your pick. If your car doesn’t have a sunroof borrow one that does. Stuff the tree through the sunroof and parade your trophy through the village. You might want to trick it out with some lights, and a few ornaments.

Afterthought – If the helpful tips above backfire and make you think: “A pox on all trees. Too much trouble. Cut them all down!” – I suggest to you that you might want to spare our eucalyptus trees. Just think: without those little nuts lying all around, what are kids going to throw at each other?

 

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