One of the more prominent -- and controversial -- street trees in my fair city is Liquidambar styraciflua (American Sweetgum, Redgum). The city has planted them in side strips, and many home owners have taken up the city on the offer and planted a free tree in their front gardens. As did Mr. Previous Owner.
Before I embarked on the great front garden remodel last fall, I actually contacted the city arborist because I was worried the tree would not survived the once-a-month watering regiment my native plants will eventually enjoy. But the arborist assured me the tree would be fine without water, and he has been right.
At the time, I asked my self: Do I want to petition to take out a perfectly healthy tree that fits well with the neighborhood, has beautiful fall color, does not grow too tall, and is not too shady? And I decided no, I wanted to keep the tree. Then, after the leaves had fallen last winter, I watched the finches perform their acrobatics on the seedpods, and was pretty sure I'd made the right decision.
BUT now it's fall again, the first storms blow through, and leaves are everywhere. I could clean up the bird bath once an hour, and don't even want to show photos of the dry stream bed.
BUT then I look at the leave and the seedpods, and they really are beautiful.
BUT I'm really spending quite a bit of time raking and collecting the leaves.
BUT I actually kind of enjoy being outside, the smell of the leaves, the sound of the birds, the colors...
BUT there are still so many leaves on the tree, and so many on the ground.
Well, all right. Could I choose, I might prefer a Blue Oak (Quercus douglasii). But for now, I'll just enjoy the smells and sights of fall. By the end of the year, the tree will be bare. Though with luck, there will be seedpods for the finches.