For the first year, I wasn't so sure I was right. The tree, being an ash, started sprouting almost immediately, but all through that first year, as soon as the new branches got about as big around as a garden hose, they would break off. But the tree, being an ash, didn't give up, and last year started hanging on to itself in a most determined way.
Today, my tree looks like this:
It makes me happy.
Sadly, we are now facing a similar issue with the Chinese Elm in the front yard. Around the time the ash started sprouting, the elm was attacked by ball moss. To be fair to the ball moss, it wouldn't have attacked if the elm was healthy. But I don't want to be fair to the ball moss, because it's just a ball of bully picking on a weak tree.
Last year, we cut back the branches we could reach, but the ones we couldn't got progressively worse. I really thought the tree was a goner, but then this spring it leafed out more heavily than it had in years, although with so many branches gone or dying, it has a somewhat Suessian aspect. But at least it was trying. Then last week, about fifteen minutes after the window installers drove off, a storm blew through and broke off another branch.
So, it's time to bite the bullet, and call some tree people to have at it. I'm not quite ready to let it go completely, so I'm going to have them cut it back the way we did the ash and see if it can bounce back. Hopefully the tree will appreciate it.
This is what it looks like now. I'll have to post "after" pics when the tree guys leave.