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What to do with laburnum?

Hi All

I had a mystery tree in my garden but have now identified it, from its bunches of yellow flowers, to be a laburnum.

I know these things are poisonous, but its also quite pretty to look at, at least during flowering; and right now we don't have any young children regularly visiting our garden and who might accidentally consume the poisonous bits. Because of its slightly precarious position on a slope and the rather leggy condition of the topmost branches, I'm inclined (no pun intended)  to take it down to about half its current height then monitor its development from thereon in.

Am I right in assuming that the usual rules apply and that I cannot, or rather should not prune this tree until the flowers have gone?




  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 21,887

    I think that the reason for waiting until June is because they are very sappy plants. By June the sap won't be rising with the same vigour. The gales that are forecast might do the job for you though.image

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,147

    Take care not to end up with an ugly stumpy thing. Cut branches, if they don't die back completely, will just throw up straight sticks. I don't think labiurnum responds well to big cut backs

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • DesthemoanerDesthemoaner Posts: 182

    Thank you. 

    If it thrives after cutting and spreads outwards instead of (as it is now) just upwards, all well and good. However, if I end up with "ugly and stumpy", it'll give me an excuse to remove it altogether, which, to be honest, was my first instinct when I realised it was a laburnum.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,757

    If you do take it down, it's worthwhile knowing that laburnum timber is highly prized by wood turners -  it makes beautiful bowls

    If you can find a local woodturner who would like the wood you might be able to get a beautiful bowl made for you in payment - laburnum bowls fetch a high price image

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,046

    check out you don't have any yew, or privet, or rhubarb, or rowan or any number of other plants which are "poisonous"

    Precaution is one thing, but don't become paranoid.

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,046

    just as well we have rowans in the wood otherwise those witches would be everywhere.

  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 16,661

    Ooh, thats a good idea. No children allowed in this garden because there are lots of poisons, and nasty things that sting if annoyed.  Actually its not the dog you have to worry about, it's the owner.image

  • DesthemoanerDesthemoaner Posts: 182

    Thanks, Dove. Its quite likely that there are such craftsmen in our area, and what a wonderful way to turn a positive to a negative that would be.

     Tetley, it looks similar to the laburnum we inherited in a previous town garden, although considerably taller; perhaps 8m high. I'll post a pic and maybe you can tell me whether its wild or not.  I already knew about the poison in laburnum because we had small children when we lived with that previous example, and the danger was quickly pointed out to us by a relative.

     I don't think we have anything else on your list of poisonous plants,  but strikes me that if I can grow a custard tree, it would make sense to cultivate rhubarb as well.

  • DesthemoanerDesthemoaner Posts: 182




    Not exactly cutting edge photography; my digital camera is a 2003 vintage model with only 3 mega pixels, and the sun was quite strong today and from the right when I took the first picture. However, maybe the close up image will identify whether this is a wild one or not



  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,757

    I think that's gorgeous - I'd love it in my garden image


    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

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