My pussywillow, which is about 20 feet high, has had several large sections of it die, so I thought it would be best to get rid of these dead branches. Some of these were as thick as my wrist and 10 to 15 feet long, so I had to get rid of them in a somewhat piecemeal fashion. I also pruned out an equally large live branch that over-hung the walkway, making it difficult for anyone who was not of diminutive stature to walk by without swerving and/or ducking. I've dragged these large wooden branches towards the backyard and will have to cut them into smaller pieces later. Some are already dried out from having been dead for quite a while, so I can use them to start fires for my charcoal grill, or I can get myself one of those outdoor raised firepit bowls and burn them there. I'd rather not just throw them away, since that seems such a waste of perfectly good firewood.
I also took down a lot of branches from the Italian plum tree that was across the walkway from the pussywillow. That tree was here when my parents bought the house and it's provided our family with bushels of tart plums for decades. However, a number of years ago it caught black knot disease and my father and I have fought it unsuccessfully for years, pruning away infected branches until there was hardly anything left of a once-lovely tree. It would try to recover and sprout new branches, only to have these new shoots also become infected.
This spring I didn't see one green leaf on any of the remaining branches, even those that had them last year. We had some very cold weather this past winter and I fear the tree has now finally died. I removed some of the branches from the upper part of the tree and plan to remove some of the lower ones in sections, since they are much thicker than the ones I cut off of the pussy willow earlier in the day.
I'm still hoping the tree might somehow recover, as it has in the past, but I fear the worst. I hope I'm wrong, but right now it doesn't look as though I am. I'm sad about losing this tree, as it is one of the few trees original to the property and it always bore delicous fruit. I've tried growing seedlings, but they also came down with black knot disease and have had to be pruned almost to death. I don't know if I'll be able to find a replacement -- the plums were similar to damsons, but smaller and more tart. They made the most exquisite preserves too.
To cheer myself up a bit, I bought a small salmon tuberous begonia and put it in the pot that is in the holder on the front mini-porch's handrail. I'd rather have my plum tree alive and well and full of blossoms, but I can't have that so the begonia's blossoms will have to suffice.
Spent a large part of today wielding a saw.