Hi I 'm new to this...

trailrunnerbikerMarch 1, 2007

I am in Opelika and have posted a bunch of pics on the Cottage forum. I am at a loss as to what to do with my backyard due to shade and drainage problems combined. They have given me some food for thought but I would love to hear from natives of the area. We have to get permssion if we want to remove trees or change the fence as we are in the Historic District. I had planned on joining the Master Gardeners but they have change their date to the fall for their organizing meeting this year so I am on my own.

Noone would believe we have been here 5 yrs!!! The landscape is slowly deteriorating due to my poor skill and the increased shade each year.

Any ideas or suggestions will be greatly appreciated. I have very little talent but am willing to try. Thank you , Caroline

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I've done considerable work in historical districts in other communities and I certainly appreciate that the challenges can be unique. You have some important trees to consider, and very limited space. Remember, those tree are not only an important aspect of your property, but of that district.

Almost every decision you make could affect those trees, so it's imperitive that you find someone who can help you decide (not only) which you might consider removing, but how any other work you do might impact those that are to remain.

For example, in the other forum there was mention of French drains. A good solution in some cases, but the trenching involved could kill a tree. So can almost any kind of hardscaping over the top of old trees in such a confined area, unless accomplished in the correct manner.

What I'm saying is: I think you should call on a professional to help you. First, my suggestion is that you hire an ISA (International Society of Arboriculture) arborist to do an evaluation of your trees. He/she can determine which might need to be taken down due to structural problems, disease, etc. Wouldn't that be nice to know ahead of time? He/she can also suggest how to protect those of extreme value.

Then a design professional can come in. I'd strongly suggest that you get this person together with your arborist for a chat before he/she begins making decisions. In my experience, most landscape designers and landscape architects have little understanding of tree biology.

Most design consultants should be willing to simply do a 'walk through' with you, giving you an earful of ideas while you take notes. Expect to pay for that time, but not as much (of course) as a finished drawing.

Click on the attached link. AUFA used to have members who would volunteer their time to assist in problems like this. It would be much easier for you to have requests for tree removal done if you had the opinions of tree professionals.

Here is a link that might be useful: Alabama Urban Forestry Association

    Bookmark   March 4, 2007 at 12:25PM
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Thank you I sent them an e-mail. We are going to rethink a lot of the initial suggestions and try raised beds to alleviate water problems. We do still need 2 of the trees removed as they are ruining a building on the property. Thanks for youe help. Caroline

    Bookmark   March 8, 2007 at 5:19AM
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You might also contact your county extension agent. I think Danielle Carroll is the one for homes. She can be contacted at the website for alabama county extension service. www.aces.edu Go to the Lee County page and then just link to the directory. I lived in Opelika years ago when Jeff Cleary was the county agent. He came out to my house and was very helpful in suggesting plants to grow.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 9:29AM
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Caroline, I've seen your pictures on the other forum and think you're doing a great job!

My suggestion was also going to be to contact the ACES extension officer. The more information you have before deciding on a contractor to remove the trees, the better!

We drive thru the azalea trail every year and I envy the yards in the Historic District! My neighborhood was clearcut before being developed and the wooded area south of us was recently sold and developed, so we don't have any old trees or bushes around here.


    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 11:27AM
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