Trim the Deadwood – It’s Gotta Go!

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Len and I were sitting in our backyard watching the girls play (our three dogs) and simply enjoying the lovely spring weather and beautiful late afternoon sky. Almost simultaneously we said, “It’s time”—time to remove the obviously dead limb on one of the oak trees.

Deadwood is a threat to tree health. Infestations thrive in the decaying wood, which can ultimately lead to the death of the tree—not to mention, it can make a tree structurally unsound.

Deadwood pruning is the removal from the tree of the dead, dying, or broken branches and diseased branch wood. This can be significant for the health of a tree—allowing the tree to flourish.

Certain people, places, and things have the ability to drag individuals down—deadwood. Maybe they’re time or energy thieves, or maybe they’re a financial drain. Regardless, they have the ability to weaken an otherwise sound structure.

What deadwood needs to be removed from your life in order for you to flourish?


26 thoughts on “Trim the Deadwood – It’s Gotta Go!

  1. Excellent observation Laurie and so timely. Pruning out the ‘dead wood’ in spring to make way for the fast growth of summer is so wise. . . .thanks for the reminder.

  2. Laurie you have hit upon one of my favourite tasks – getting rid of that which is no longer of service be it the dead wood of a tree, peek-a-boo underwear, a colleague who manipulates, or a lime that has dried out.

    Though I can be patient and supportive and creative in putting things to use – when it is time, well it is time.

    The other day, after some discussion and agreement between us, I cut down a whole tree in our backyard. It was too big to transplant and had been suffering the fate of growing spindly to try and reach the light. With a small prayer of thanks I took the handsaw and went to work. It wasn’t a decision that was made in haste, as it took 3 years to decide, but once made, action was taken with surgical swiftness.

    David came out later and immediately commented on how much better the yard felt. That poor tree had been holding all of our attention as it tried to get enough sunlight.

    By the way, I put it to dry as the wood smelled wonderful when I cut it and I will use it for a special ceremonial fire in the fall.

  3. Wow the 100 year old cherry tree came down last Friday – just too dangerous to keep going and some time this month 4 catalpa trees coming down from the house next door and the plum tree gets a deadwood prune. The plum tree is so rotten ( it is our neighbors) and it drops all sorts of worms and bugs and staining tiny plums onto our deck and attracts the yellow jackets. I tried to be so kind about my overt joy at the care coming to all this dead wood – we often can not sit on our deck because of the mess.

    I have to work on not feeling self-righteous because we take such good care of our trees and yard and house and so few of the neighbors do – so that is some personal deadwood I have to deal with – too often

    Nice thinking here – thank you for sharing

  4. I’m a collector of things. Others may say, a pack rat. This behavior no longer works for me and so I have a box in which I place items that need to find a new home. I know others will benefit from that which no longer fit in my life. Thankfully, I live in a community that supports this use it or pass it on mind-set.

  5. Oh yes, the deadwood.
    When I came home from having knee surgery I really couldn’t get around very well. I could only stand so long, walk hardly at all and even sitting was painful. But as the days went by and I laid with my knee elevate I looked around my bedroom and Finally said “What are all these clothes on the couch?” I immeditately started going through and cleaning them out!!! Some drawers I just plain said I haven’t even opened this one in years not to mention wore any of these. So by the hand fulls I decluttered my dresser drawers…..It felt so good to get rid of the clutter.
    Your spring day sounded great..we are still waiting for the thounder storms to stop.

  6. Hi Laurie
    I’ve been noticing something very similar this summer, as I have been taking down the line of macrocarpa trees on our eastern boundary. They are about 30 years old, but were pruned heavily about 20 years ago, and came away again with multiple leaders, and I pruned them heavily about 12 years ago, and over-pruned some of the leaders and they died. It has been interesting to note that the rot extends right down through the base of the trunk and into th root system on a couple of those trunks – with no sign at all on the outside of the trunk. There was an inch or so of live wood on the outside, then a dark brown crumbly rotten mass about 8 inches across under the dead leader going right down to the roots.

    From a different perspective it is also interesting to note that many animals rely on the holes so formed for their homes – here in NZ it is mostly wetas (giant grasshopper like insects) and bats, and a few birds.

    And on another perspective again, yes I am a collector of clutter. I’m kinda like a packrat, with hordes of everything I think I might need. Yes it can slow me down, and if I’m allowed to stay home, it gives me a lot of security, and allows me to serve others by being able to fix almost anything.

    It’s always difficult for me to de-clutter, in the past it has created a lot of stress for me, as I need to learn anew where everything is, and I cannot trust my memories of where I put stuff. And I value trusting my intuition above all else, which is why I like stuff to stay where I put it, or stay where it belongs – a constant source of tension between Ailsa and I (for Ailsa anywhere out of sight is tidy).

    Cancer forced a declutter, and I am noting the return of clutter.

    • Ted – I enjoyed reading the variety of perspectives you shared with us here. I don’t have very many things, but I strongly resonate with the “a place for everything, and everything in its place” mentality.

      You said, “Cancer forced a declutter, and I am noting the return of clutter.” Will you please elaborate a bit on this statement?

  7. Love it! It reminds me that sometimes we may even do the opposite and rig up a sling to keep things attached when they would naturally fall away from us due to our change in paths. It may not even require us to take action for things to be removed but just mindfulness that we no longer need it in our lives………then with the help of the universe, it goes away.

    • Lisa – You said, “…mindfulness that we no longer need it in our lives…” Recognition is half the solution because it sets the stage for either us or the universe to get the ball rolling.

  8. Oh, my, Laurie . . . I have deadwood in my life! I am working diligently at maintaining my boundaries and it is sad to say that these people are my family members who have made very bad decisions. Even when their bad decisions have them in an awful place, they come to me, I tell them how they can fix their situation, but they don’t take my advice, and the saga continues. I have helped a few of them from time to time, but I don’t see them making better decisions. Other deadwood includes doing things I don’t enjoy . . . that I do out of a sense of duty or habit. Those are defiitely ready to be sawed off!

  9. Been needing to trim some dead wood out of my life for many many years. I always feel so short on time so I never get around to it…I try and fit too much into this life but I’m never happy with what I HAVE gotten done. sigh…

    • Beth – Maybe it’s in the trying to cram so much in that you feel you don’t have enough time and you’re unhappy. I wonder if you did/had fewer things you’d find contentment because of the quality (as opposed to the quantity).

  10. The deadwood in our lives of course is that state of being when we weaken and allow our confidence to waver. In these instances we invariably sucumb to some negative inclinations, which may well be a type of frustration caused by impatience or things not falling in place.

    Hence, I couldn’t agree more with you and Len removing this potential danger from your yard.

    • Sam – I couldn’t agree with you more when you say, “…which may well be a type of frustration caused by impatience or things not falling in place.” Unfortunately it resonates all too well because I’ve been there and done that myself 🙂

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