My walnut tree

My walnut tree © Ricky Yates

In my back garden there are three trees – an apple tree, a cherry tree and a walnut tree. You can see all three trees in this photograph, taken in early October 2019. The apple tree stands immediately to the side of the woodshed on the far side of the back garden. The cherry tree is on the left front in the photograph. Towering above both of them is the walnut tree, in the centre of the photograph, with its leaves rapidly turning yellow.

As you can see, the walnut tree stands quite close to my garden fence, with many of its branches extending over the adjacent public land, across which runs a driveway to the house behind my garden, the home of my neighbours Pavel and Vlasta. In the Autumn of 2018, the tree produced a large crop of walnuts, many of which fell on the public ground. More than one local lady came around and collected them, and example of thriftiness for which Czechs are renowned 🙂

Walnut tree leaves lying on my back lawn © Ricky Yates

However, in the Autumn of 2019, the tree didn’t produce any nuts at all. But what it did produce was a superabundance of fallen leaves.

Raked piles of leaves © Ricky Yates

Raking into piles, all of those leaves which fell into my garden and then transporting them by wheelbarrow to the bio odpad/green waste skip, was a major exercise.

The walnut tree minus nearly all its leaves © Ricky Yates

During October 2019, the walnut tree lost nearly all its leaves in little over a week. There was no more than ten days between when the photograph at the beginning of this post was taken and the one above. As you can see, large quantities of leaves also fell outside of my garden.

Whilst strictly speaking, clearing them up was not my responsibility, I did feel rather guilty being the owner of the tree from whence they had come. This was especially so after rain and cars being driven along the driveway, turned many of them into a squelchy mess. So one Saturday in late October, I raked the leaves from the grass strip along the outside of my garden fence, whilst Pavel used his leaf blower to clear the driveway.

Over this past winter, I decided that I must do something to avoid a similar or worse experience in 2020. In simple terms, the tree has grown far too big for where it is situated. So I asked Mirka, whose English conversation class I help with, if she or one of her friends knew of a tree surgeon who could come and give it a ‘hair cut’.

Mirka kindly found someone suitable who, in turn, asked to see photos of the tree. I sent several, including some in this post. Having seen the photos, the tree surgeon, Johan Beneš, gave me a quotation of 5500Kc/£180.00 to reduce and thin out the tree, together with taking away all the resultant debris. I accepted his offer.

Johan Beneš cutting the walnut tree © Ricky Yates

On the morning of Wednesday 20th May, Johan Beneš and a colleague, arrived in their van, towing a small trailer, in order to carry out the work. By a series of ropes and pulleys, Johan hauled himself up into the tree and commenced cutting branches, whilst his colleague collected them from the ground and started stacking them into the trailer. Johan did all the work with a simple hand saw being very careful where he cut in order to conserve the health of the tree.

The walnut tree following its ‘hair cut’ © Ricky Yates

After about four hours of Johan being up in the tree and with many branches and smaller twigs, lying on the ground, this is the end result.

Tree debris loaded to be taken away © Ricky Yates

And here is all the debris, either loaded on the trailer or stuffed in the back of the van. I remarked that they should really have brought a larger trailer with them. In reply, Johan admitted that the tree was far larger than he had envisioned from looking at my photographs 🙂

8 comments to My walnut tree

  • Gordon Truefitt

    Brilliant Ricky
    You certainly earn your beer & bread!

  • Stephen Morris

    Beautiful photos! We had to have one of the birch trees in our backyard trimmed as well… it had some kind of blight that had killed several branches. They also added herbicide of some sort around the roots to make the tree itself less hospitable to any remaining—or returning—blight.

    • Ricky

      Thank you, Stephen. I had my walnut tree trimmed simply because of its size. It’s otherwise perfectly healthy. I hope the added herbicide has the desired effect for your birch tree.

  • Robert E. Doolittle

    Hi Ricky: I must apologize for my lack of communication with your blog. Your walnut tree is very impressive. You may find that the yield of walnuts is higher after pruning. It depends on whether the nuts are generated on new growth. I have never seen walnut trees in Florida but we have many pecan groves. We are doing well dealing with the partial lock down. We wear masks and gloves when going shopping. Compliance with mask wearing has been quite good in our county, and we have had only 8 deaths in our county.

    We have not had church services for some time although we have been having virtual services every Sunday. We are supposed to make some change in policy by June 14th, but I have yet to hear any details.

    I have been busy splitting firewood for next “winter” or I should say, what passes for winter in Florida. We had almost 7 inches of rain over last weekend, and we needed it. I will be actively mowing grass from now until Nov. Sean and I have been communicating regularly on a wide selection of topics.
    Regards, Bob

    • Ricky

      Hi Bob, Very nice to have you commenting here again.

      It certainly will be interesting to see what yield I get from the walnut tree, this year following pruning. And very glad to know that you’re coping with lockdown & trust that you & Elaine remain in good health. Regarding Church services, I’m hoping to resume officiating in Dresden in July.

      We’ve also had some welcome rain here in recent days. It’s certainly making my grass grow too! It is also great to hear of your ongoing conversations with fellow commenter Sean.

      Finally, I hope you appreciated the first photo in my previous post which I included especially for you 🙂

  • Robert E. doolittle

    Ricky: Have you done anything new with the famous grape vine in your front garden area?

    • Ricky

      No, I haven’t. However, pruning it last Autumn rather than in the Spring of 2020, does seem to have restricted its growth a little. I’ve been trying to find a way of putting a photo of it in this reply but unfortunately so far, without success.