A friend in England emailed yesterday to ask what to do about her evergreen ceanothus that was blown over in recent storms. She described it as “very top heavy, like a robin” – you get the picture: a big round ball held up by two spindly legs. Plenty of top growth to catch the wind.At 1/8m/6ft height and 1.2m/4ft across at the top it doesn’t sound the most elegant shrub in the garden.
I’d be inclined to dig it out and plant something else – even another ceanothus. She could hammer in a fat stake, heave the plant into a vertical position and tie it up tight – but I can’t say it will be elegant and having torn out all those roots when it toppled, it may well die anyway.
Here in Pennsylvania we have a similar problem, though on a larger scale. Last month’s unseasonable snowstorm was one too many for our lovely 30ft multistem birch tree. It’s now leaning over the house at an angle of almost 45 degrees, with all the roots on one side pulling out of the soil. The next ice storm will have it crashing on to the roof.
The first picture shows the angle of the trunks as they are today (click on the picture to enlarge it). The second shows what one of last winter’s ice storms did to the poor tree, bending the trunk so the topmost branches touched the ground - just missing the roof. I posted about it back in February.
The weight of last month’s frozen snow has pulled the roots free of the soggy soil so now the tree has so much less support – at least back in February the frozen ground kept the roots locked in place.
So, sadly, I’d better go get the chainsaw sharpened again