First, the confusing one. This isn't right. Betula nigra, or River Birch, is a multi stemmed tree that usually forms clumps of two or three upright trunks. This V shaped River Birch has a long slender trunk on the left, and is branching all over the place midway up the stem on the right.
From the opposite angle it's even clearer how confused, almost tangled, the branching is on one trunk, while the other is straight and unbranched.
It looks like two trees from a distance. The upper leaf canopy is separated into two distinct forms. The trunk(s) are hidden by the spruces that are in front of this birch, but go around behind the berm and you see this oddity.
It's healthy, it grows, but even barely leafed out in spring, it is starting to look too heavy on the branched side. It is leaning too much and looking like it might break off to that side in the next storm.
Could some selective pruning help this situation? I should simply take off the entire confused branched trunk at its base, and let the remaining straight trunk grow as a single stemmed Betula nigra. That's what I'm thinking. The multi stemmed clump form is popular, but River Birches do grow naturally as single stem trees.
Yeah, that's what I'm thinking. I need something bigger than my Japanese pruning saw.
The branching on another tree is not so worrisome. In fact it's really encouraging to see that the little black gum, Nyssa sylvatica, is finally trying to stand up tall, and is sending up a leader.
I wrote about this tree here, showing how it had become saddle shaped because the top leader branch had been lopped off. Black gum is a stiffly pyramidal tree and should never be topped.
|then . . in 2009|
|now . . . in 2012|
And this is encouraging --- the little sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum) that I moved this spring is not only leafing out, but has sent up a strong vertical leader. The slender, light brown branch growing straight up in the center is new growth.
Branching out, branching up. I love watching these trees grow into the forms they want to be --- even the confused ones.