My go-to tree guy


One of the great things about growing up in the greater Madison area and marrying a guy from the same neck of the woods is that we have a great network of friends with businesses. People we trust. Companies that provide great products and services. Friends who will let us ask dumb questions and give sage advice.

For the most part I muddle along on my own. Well, my husband does the heavy stuff and Patty (my garden helper) helps with maintenance. But I plan my beds, plant the flowers and shrubs, stake, weed, divide and deadhead. I can’t do trees or other big stuff. For that I go to Dave Polich of A.L. Landscaping.

When my sister moved back to Wisconsin last summer after having lived in Chicago most of her adult life, she bought a home in a subdivision not that dissimilar from mine. In other words not a tree in sight and just a couple ornamental shrubs by the front door. Right away I told her to call Dave.

First of all he understands the “wave method” of garden planning. He can take general desires and wishes, and translate them into great landscaping. The “wave method” is when you take Dave out back and wave in the general direction of something you want to happen. For example: “See that tall house over there? I want a tree to screen the view so we have more privacy for the grill deck and bedroom from that direction.” Voila, in a couple weeks Dave sends his guys out to my house with a 3-stem paperbark birch that is beautiful winter and spring.

Paperbark birch (some people call it a white birch) are great screens. Typically a tree clump grows 45-70 feet tall with each stem in the clump about 20 feet wide. It’s a fast grower and the creamy white bark with lemony-green leaves.

It was using this same method of flapping my hands in the direction of an issue that I got both of my Autumn Blaze maples. Nice big trees at a better price than I found anywhere else in Dane County. I love these trees so much I talked my sister into getting one too.

The autumn blaze maple tree is a combination of good traits from the red maple and silver maple. The qualities mixed by the autumn blaze maple tree are brilliant orange-red color in the fall, dense and healthy branching, and enhanced growth that protects from insects and disease. They are known for their speedy growth. The autumn blaze maple tree will grow to 60 feet tall and have a mature spread of up to 40 feet. They are not a susceptible to storm damage and can grow in almost all soil conditions.

My sister used the “wave method” to get her flower beds in place. Her example was “I want a sort-of kidney shaped bed over there that goes from about that neighbor’s window over to the lot stake. And, I want a half-round bed over there by the neighbor’s retaining wall with some flowering shrubs.” Dave is brilliant and deciphering what the problem is and finding real landscaping solutions. You don’t have to discuss prepping, mulch, what grows in zone 4b or whatever. He guides you through the design and doesn’t mind when you tweak it.

Best of all he usually has specials so that you get really great prices.

About Kary Beck

Mother and wife, gardener, wine enthusiast, avid online bargain hunter, and owner of two black-and-tan cocker spaniels.
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