“Tree Weeds” and Other Anomalies of Perception Not Easily Reconciled…

We bought a house for the trees.

A fact we now loathe to admit, since we have it on good authority that these trees are actually considered weeds.

A few years after we moved in, we found ourselves blessed with a bumper crop of seedling pines.  I was so enthralled with the little darlings that I dug them up and potted them with the intention of donating them for a plant sale.

I can tell this story now. Some of the sting has worn off.

As a rule, plant society volunteers graciously accept homegrown donations. But apparently they draw a very firm line in the compost bin when it comes to Monterey Pines.

Which is exactly where the volunteer suggested I dispose of my gift.

“Lush, park-like setting,” I said, in the vain hope that quoting the real estate ad might change her mind.

“Weeds.” She pointed her trowel accusingly at my wagon-load of worm fodder, as though these innocent seedlings were patients zero through twenty for the plague of which she spoke.

Tree weeds? Seriously?

Picture a long walk of shame back to the car, serenaded by a utility wagon with a squeaky wheel.


Followed by an even longer drive home.


There to face a grove of giant pine-weeds in a lush, park-like setting.


Apparently, as pines go, the Monterey is not prized for structure, beauty or hardiness when planted outside of its native range or equivalent climate. But visit California’s central coast, and suddenly these weeds are transformed into Sports-Illustrated-Swim-Suit-Model pines, complete with wind-swept needles, trunks and branches.

All these lanky, misshapen trees needed was a day at the beach.

Or failing that, a photo-shoot fog machine.


Try and explain that to a bootleg pruner who prefers to get their point across with loppers rather than words. The last thing these pines needed was a bad haircut from a barber in a foul temper.





It’s taken years to embrace these anomalies of perception not easily reconciled…


We bought a house.

For the trees.


I said it.

Out loud.


That wasn’t so hard.


And besides…


Any weed fit for an owl-

is by definition-

a tree…



Tree Weeds and Other Anomalies of Perception Not Easily Reconciled...


USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service: Plant Guide: Monterey Pine

Across the Pond:


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7 thoughts on ““Tree Weeds” and Other Anomalies of Perception Not Easily Reconciled…

    1. Thank you! Our “weeds” and other neighborhood trees seem to attract a wide variety of birds. In addition to this western screech, we also hear, and sometimes see, great horned and barn owls of an evening…

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Again it’s a matter of perspective. Some of the plants I grow are considered weeds, yet the bugs and other wildlife just see them as plants, a source of food and shelter. Another great post! 🙂


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