Prune Lawn Trees High

I just returned from an evening walk with Theo and my forehead burns from a fresh scratch.

Theo walked around a tree four feet from the road.  As I went around the back a branch caught me 3 inches above the eyes.

I did have a flashlight.  I was looking at the ground for footing and suddenly smack!

This is a great example of why it’s so important to prune lawn trees above people’s heads.  Assume folks will be walking in the dark and can’t see where they’re going.

People driving down the street or your driveway also appreciate not having their cars scratched.

A final friendly tip.  Don’t leave stubs on a tree, especially at eye height, where someone can lose an eye.

Theo the Great Pyrenees Mix Pupply
Theo our Great Pyrenees mix puppy.  He’s 90 lbs at just over a year old.  What a sweetheart.  He loves people, dogs, cats and creatures of all shapes and sizes.


Refreshingly Nervous

Today I went to the barber to get my hair cut.

Who a barber is has changed for me through the years.

When I was a kid a barber was an Italian man who cut hair and talked about the old country.  I started visiting my children’s stylist out of convenience since they were born.

I’ve gone to the local Great Clips for my last few hair cuts.  The best I can tell they are a hair styling chain that either trains stylists or hires stylists just out of hair styling school.

I go to Great Clips because I can walk in any weekday and get what’s left of my hair cut in 10-15 minutes.  I like the convenience getting my hair cut when the mood hits me.

Today my stylist was a girl with black hair with a purple-pinkish tint.  The tint in her hair wasn’t the most striking thing about her.

She was exuding nervous energy.

How could I tell?

First, the station she used was the third from the front.  The stylists usually use the station closest to the front door.  She sought privacy to focus on her work.

Next, when she grabbed her electric shears the cord got caught in her apron.  It was like Christmas lights wound too tightly the year before.  She nervously struggled to free the cord through her embarrassment.

I did my best to stay calm and NOT mention how nervous she was.

The worst thing you can do when someone is nervous is tell them they look nervous.  Say something positive or say nothing.

I’ve been nervous enough times to know that.

I offered, insisted, on untangling the cord to her shears.  I knew she’d feel awkward.  I might make her more nervous.  I took the risk.

By untangling the cord she’d know how to take care of it next time.  She’d be more prepared.  More confident.

She commented, “That’s why I’m a stylist.” As she watched me untangle the cord.

The girl began cutting my hair with forced movements.  I could feel her fighting her nerves.  She pushed her shears against my head with more force than any barber or stylist had before.

Some may wonder why I didn’t get up and walk out.  Why I didn’t ask for a different stylist.  Why I’m not writing a nasty letter to Great Clips asking for a refund.

The reason may shock you.

Nervous people care about what they’re doing.  Nervous people want to do a good job.

My stylist has some work to go to master her trade.  Her nervous energy tells me she’s got the perseverance.  She will learn and master her trade.

Think about people who fake it till they make it.  Contrast a nervous attitude to over-confidence or arrogance.

Thanks for the great clip!

How Close to House to Plant Shrubs

The short answer.  As far as possible.

Plants are constantly growing taller and spreading wider.

When planting small to medium shrubs my goal is 1-2 feet of air between the edge of a shrub and the home.  Not just when I plant.  For the life of the landscape.

You can prune the back of a shrub, where no one sees, as often as needed to keep the gap.

If there isn’t a gap you’re in trouble.

Shrub too Close to House
I saw this Rhododendron slammed against the house this Spring.  It motivated me to write this post.
Shrub planted too close to house
This Rhododendron is an extreme example of planting too close.

Medium shrubs like Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Spirea, Holly and Boxwood go  2.5-3′ from the side of the house.

I can easily walk behind the shrubs after planting.

Rhododendron Planted Next to House
This rhododendron has a 2′ gap between the foliage and the side of the house.

Large shrubs and small trees like Viburnum, Dogwood and Stewartia go a minimum of 6′ from the edge of the house and preferably 8′.

Viburnum Planted Next to House
This Viburnum is 8′ from the house. Imagine the pruning nightmare if it was 3-4′ away.

When in doubt plant farther from the house.  You’ll never regret it.