Sunday, November 4, 2018

Horticulture 101

This year, I am enrolled in Introduction to Horticulture at South Dakota State University.
Recently, I sat through a lecture where we talked about how to prune a tree.
It is something so simple but often can be done wrong. When we went over a lot of the concepts, it almost a seemed we were not growing a tree but ourselves.
After learning how to prune a tree, I realized the similarities to how we can “prune” ourselves.
Proper pruning is vital in the first ten years because it guides how the tree will grow for the rest of its life. Even though most of us are not ten years old, it is never too late to prune ourselves.
Here is a video explaining some of the vocab.
There are four basic things we want to cut on our tree. First, remove the suckers from the tree.
Most of the trees we buy are grafted which means the stem is the desired tree and the root stem is a different tree that has characteristics the desired tree lacks.
Grafting trees is a great way to grow trees in the 21st century. However, one disadvantage is that grafted trees can sprout suckers; the suckers are little sprouts that pop up from the trunk from the original tree.
We need to cut these off because they distract from and pull nutrients from the tree that you want. Just like we need to trim away the suckers so our desired tree grows strong, we need to stay true to ourselves.
Why grow parts that are not true to ourselves? Take a look at your life and only do the things that reinforce who you are. Do not spend your time doing things that are not valuable to you.
What things are you doing that distract from who you are?

The second cut removes co-dominant trunks from the tree. This cut is important to make early, but if we miss the ideal time, it is okay as we just need to make cuts over time to fix it. Young saplings can split and grow in two different directions. This decreases the durability of the tree which can break during storms and then we will have to clean up the broken branches. However, this can be prevented by cutting one of the leads and leaving the tree with one solid base and direction. Two lead branches are like when we are multi-tasking you; we think it is effective, but it is actually holding us back. For example, I have found myself conversations going on my phone, and I think I am accomplishing two things are once. Unfortunately, it is actually disrespectful and I cannot remember what the other person said. Having two leads is holding us back from being here and now. The tree could be growing tall and spreading its branches outwards, but instead, it is stuck growing in two different directions only to worry about breaking during the next storm. What is holding you back from growing tall and pulling you in multiple directions? Are you here and now with those around you?

The third cut removes improperly scaffolded branches.
These are the branches with less than 6-18 inches of space between adjacent branches.
This is where we can cut too little but there needs to be room for growth of new branches.
If the branches are too close together, they can grow together and grow into each other.
It is important to cut branches before it is too late or if they have already grown together.
Likewise, it is important to declutter and distress in our life.
We spend so much filling our day and never take the time to reflect on the past.
We need to process what we have gone through. This clears up space for potential growth and shows we can move forward having learned from our past experiences. When are you doing to make time for personal growth? What do you need to remove from your life to grow in the future?

The final cut removes the water sprouts (we cut them for eye appeal) and dead branches from our trees. This is the easiest step because all we need to do is remove the branches that are holding our tree back. We also hold on to things that can hurt us. A dead branch can fall and hurt our house, garage, car, and family. What are some things you are holding on to? This can be a hobby, habit, conscience. We often hold on to what people think of us and it becomes our dead branches. Worrying about what others think of us can crush the things we love. The things we love and care about aren’t always the coolest thing so we may hide from our passions. Jack Canfield once said, “What others think of you is none of your business.” Let go of what others think of us. They do not get to decide who we can be.

Our simple cuts improve our trees, but we can prune ourselves to grow to our full potential. I encourage you to cut the suckers, double leads, improperly scaffolded branches, and dead branches from our lives. I hope these four steps push you to become an amazing arborist. Growing yourself is important no matter what age you are.

Stationed by the flag,
Lauralee Eaton

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