Take the Camellia Challenge


Today I took on the challenge of transforming this overgrown Camellia. It had been badly pruned many years ago and left alone until now. I thinned, removed dead branches, removed many stubs, and worked on setting up the groundwork for better, more attractive layering.


After my initial pruning this shrub looks a lot better. After a couple years of continued care, it will look really stunning.

When a shrub or tree is left untended for too long, especially after a hacked pruning job, it may take several years to reclaim its full potential beauty. A hack pruning causes excessive sprouting that eventually shades out the interior of the plant. When the plant’s interior gets no light, the inner green leaves die. You end up with a mess of dead branches that once removed leave behind bare, leggy scaffold branches.

Trees in political news.

San Francisco trees are in the news.  There is talk of the city passing on the responsibility of 24,000 street trees to property owners.Check out the article by Alex Zielinski

Red Tailed Hawk

Last Wednesday I got to participate in the re-nesting of a Red Tailed Hawk.

Check out this blog entry for the exciting story.

Wild Rescue

Small Ficus tree




Ficus trees (Ficus macrocarpa) are very common street trees in San Francisco. Many large specimins magnificently line 24st in the Mission District. They are in every neighborhood. Unfortunately they are pavement busters and are known for dropping limbs.

This tree collapsed on itself in San Francisco last year.


I have heard that insurance companies wont cover auto damage caused by ficus trees.

This doesn’t happen every day, but I wouldn’t park your 1958 Ford Thunderbird under a large ficus. I won’t park my truck under a Ficus tree simply because it is almost a guarantee that the birds will have crapped all over it by morning.

They do a great job cleaning the air. They trap more pollutants than any other tree in San Francisco. After an hour in a ficus tree my face looks like I’ve been playing in a chimney.

In the Moraceae family, Ficus is a genus with over 850 species. Some of the more famous onces are: Ficus benjamina, a common house plant; Ficus carica, the common fig; Ficus benghalensis, the Banyan Tree, known in tropical climates of its aerial roots that create massive trunks.

In San Francisco ficus trees are often topped. I’ve seen them sometimes re-sprout and sometimes die. Never top your trees. They can be pruned harder than most trees, but if you remove all of the green you may end up with a dead tree.