Natural Topiary (Shallow Thoughts)

Akkana's Musings on Open Source Computing and Technology, Science, and Nature.

Sat, 23 Feb 2019

Natural Topiary

Tags nature,mysteries

Some months after we moved into our new house, we came home to notice a really ugly job of tree trimming on some junipers in the driveway.

[deer topiary] We hadn't done it, nor had we requested tree trimming service. Yet we'd been in the house for months, and we were both pretty sure that the junipers hadn't looked like that before. They were nearly denuded at the bottom, belling out higher up.

Was there some rogue topiarist wandering the neighborhood, defoliating people's trees without asking them? When I was growing up, occasionally my grandmother would show up and slash branches off trees in our backyard without asking. But it made no sense that anyone in our neighborhood would do that.

We hoped the trees would grow back to their former bushiness, but several years later, they don't look much better. And all that time it has remained a mystery how the trees came to look like that.

Until a party a few months ago, when a visiting friend cast a knowing look at the trees and said, "I see the deer have been visiting you."

[deer topiary] Of course! Somehow that had never occurred to us. We went out to the driveway and checked -- and sure enough, the trimmed parts of the trees go up to roughly the height a deer could easily reach.

So sure enough -- there is a rogue topiarist wandering the neighborhood after all. Lots of them, in fact. Most of the time they eat more tempting fare; but when the weather gets inclement and there isn't much to eat, they'll go after the junipers. And I guess these non-native junipers in the driveway are a little tastier than the native ones that are all around the property.

We don't feel quite so resentful about our unwanted tree trimming now. Sure, we're still not crazy about the look of our oddly shaped junipers, and they've gotten even worse during the current exceptionally snowy winter; but now that we know it's a natural process, not some crazed shear-wielding neighbor, it's hard to be too upset by it.

[ 11:35 Feb 23, 2019    More nature | permalink to this entry | ]

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