Tree with roots

Teaching about trees, their amazing woody bodies and lives, and how to care for them, is something I have been doing my whole adult life. Questions come from nature, such as what tree is that? or what is wrong with that tree?

Answers come from our established world of knowledge, books, perhaps, or the internet. You take your tree problem to a book, learn something, then take it back to the tree. Complete this natural cycle enough times and you gain wisdom—wisdom to make the best choice of action about how to help the tree, action that harms the tree the least.

When you have gained that wisdom, generally the answers are straightforward. For example, this suffering tree with little vigor, a wilted look accompanied by minimal growth the last few years, just needs more water, and little else. But learning to diagnose that and looking for the signs written in the tree and its growing environment takes experience. It's the thinking about the whole tree and the space where it lives that lets us know how to help.

Tree classes can be about many subjects or focus on just one or two. Whether it is shrub pruning, soils, insects and diseases, tree and shrub identification, pruning theory, basic botany, compartmentalization of wounds, or a mix of many subjects, your class can be whatever you want it to be.

Whether you are one person, a group or a classroom, we can make a class work, either in your garden or in one of many outdoor spaces.

If hands-on pruning lessons are what you need, this has to be performed on your own private property.

I like to keep these classes open and flexible rather than rigid. Ask me about how you would like to handle this, and I am sure we can work it out.

Kevin Lee teaching pruning for the Calgary Horticultural Society, Feb 2019

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Tree Poem

How to turn on a tree?
I think the tree is always on
but it is not on and engaged with a person until a person
is there to be engaged with it. You need to choose this.

I think that trees are always engaged with the other trees around them
but most of the time we are moving to fast to feel that.

The super power of an ancient grove that you stand still with, speaks of that.
The tree responds to your presence.

This part is difficult to describe.

Simply with the presence of love. it loves you.
By being still near a tree and looking at it closely,
paying your full attention to it, the tree responds to your love with love.

Most of the time for me the looking closely involves a thorough visual inspection
I am looking at all of its bark with its many marks, forms, shapes, the same with
the leaves, branches and trunk,
where the branches grow from on the trunk and where they go.

I touch the tree a lot while looking at it and will usually hug the tree.
It knows that I am there to help and from my deep visual inspection I learn what I can do to help.

Maybe the tree is wilted and dry, needs water, maybe the tree has a disease
that needs to be removed. Perhaps it's getting a little thick and needs some thinning.
Whether or not the tree needs any action on my part the tree's reaction is always the same: love.
This I now see is why working with trees is so rewarding.

I recommend everyone get to know the trees around them and enjoy all the good feeling that comes from them. It's just like sunshine.