The tulip poplar we donated in our son’s memory was planted in the park in March 2012.
Within a week, another tulip poplar was planted next to our tree. It was the same size and also a bare stick. Both trees soon begin to put out leaves. Our tree had a small setback when the tip got broken shortly after it was planted, but it recovered nicely.
We watered both trees that summer, the next summer, and the summer after that to make sure they would survive through July and August, when is very hot and little rain normally falls.
In 2013, our tree was very healthy and growing well.
And then I began to carefully prune our tree. Richard did not want me to, but I explained that it really was OK, that I wasn’t going to do a hack job on it, and that the tree would benefit from it. As we walked around the park one day before he finally agreed, I pointed out that none of the big trees in the park have limbs below about 5 feet. Eventually, all of the lower limbs on the small trees would be cut off anyway, so there was no point in the tree putting its energy into these lower limbs.
Don’t worry, I said, the tree will be fine.
The family that donated the tree next to ours has not done anything to their tree since it was planted. Both trees are healthy and are growing well, but now, 2 years after I began pruning our tree...
It’s hard not to miss the object lesson -- sometimes we need to prune things out of our life that can stunt our growth or divert our energy away from things that are more important. Taking secateurs to a thumb-sized tree limb is one thing, and applying them to our own lives is quite another. And not always very easy. Jesus certainly talked about the importance of pruning when He compared the need to prune grape vines so they bear better fruit with the pruning God does in us so that we produce better fruit in our own lives.