Thursday, February 7, 2013

The bigger they are...

This is not what you want to see when you open the blinds and look out the window in the morning.

...the more expensive they are to cut down.

When two big branches from our ~100-year old oak tree fell on our driveway, they revealed rotted wood and a cracked trunk.

This was a *big* tree. How big? I couldn't even get the whole tree in the photo! I think the guys who cut it down estimated it was around 75-feet high. Notice how one big branch fell directly on top of the other branch, which in turn ripped the trunk as it fell in a chain-reaction. The upper branch is just resting on the lower branch, completely disconnected from the trunk. That made me really nervous and created a certain urgency around having the tree removed ASAP.

The tree had to come down for safety's sake.

On a neighbor's suggestion, I turned to Mike Hite and his company, Creative Tree Service.

It took several days, a crew of about six guys (including couple of acrobatic tree-climbers who could have given Cirque du Soleil a run for its money) and some really big chainsaws and to de-tree the yard.

I was really impressed with the work of Mike and his employees. So I asked his permission to post a few photos and videos of his team at work:

Let's get started! Can you spot the two men in the tree? They're rigging ropes both for their own safety and also so that they (and their colleagues on the ground) will have a way to lower the branches as gently as possible as they are severed with a chainsaw.

Is that really a safe place to stand?
Working their way up the tree. Naturally, they're starting with the lower branches and working their way up so that each branch they cut has a clear path to the ground.

Meanwhile, on the ground, lots of chainsaw work and heavy lifting.

The canopy is nearly gone now...

Watcha doin' today? Oh, just hanging out. In a tree. With a chainsaw on my hip. The usual.

Taking a breather...Must be a nice view from up there.

Time to bring in the stump grinder!

Check out that big hunk o' stump. Yep, it's hollow. Amazing that the outer ring of wood was able to hold up all that weight. Thank goodness!

And now some videos of Arborists in Action!

video


video


video

After the tree was cut up and gone, we were left with just a sawdust-filled hole where the stump had been ground out.

But I found a landscaper who installed a new landscape bed and a number of new trees in the front yard - Maples, Redbuds and Eastern Red Cedars. (Stay tuned for photos of the new bed in an upcoming post...though I may wait until the trees start leafing out to publish photos.)

For the first time, I now feel like our home is really 'grounded' in the landscape rather than looming over an empty lawn.

But none of the new trees we've planted will grow as big as that oak (I hope)!

On the bright side, there were no acorns to rake this year.

But I am feeling bad for the squirrel who used to live in the oak and was forced to relocate...

20 comments:

  1. Wow, what an incredible procedure, and what a loss. But I do want to see the new bed of maples and redbuds, and I am particularly interested to see how you used the Eastern red cedars. An opportunity for a total garden redesign --- it doesn't get much better than that : )

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    1. Thanks Laurrie. Yes, we actually went a little nuts and added ~9 trees to the yard. I wanted to start with some decent-sized trees (since our house sits on the top of a hill and would have dwarfed starter trees). So I hired a landscaper to do the install. The Eastern red cedars are grouped in a bed with one redbud and some perennials - Hypericum and some bluestem grass. The two maples and three more redbuds are scattered throughout the rest of the front lawn. I'll post photos later this spring!

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  2. What a big tree! The pictures of the men standing in it really show its size! How sad to lose this old friend. I was surprised that it was hollow inside. Amazing how long trees can keep standing even when there's nothing left inside them. I hope you enjoy your new landscaping. Out with the old - in with the new! :)

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    1. Thanks Holley! Believe me, I was super-surprised to find out it was totally hollow inside!!

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  3. Wow... So sorry to see such a majestic tree come down! It has been windy today... Good thing it didnt fall on a car or house. What tree are you thinking of replacing it with?

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    1. Thanks JT. It was majestic in a way. Certainly a local landmark in a neighborhood with few large trees. As the men were cutting it down, we had passersby who had never spoken with us before stopping and saying how much they were going to miss the tree.

      I was never worried about the tree falling on our house - the slope (primarily) and its distance from our house meant that our home was never in danger. But there was a very real risk of it toppling into the street or onto our driveway (as those two large branches fell). So yes, we were lucky that we weren't driving by when that happened or walking down to get the mail.

      I love trees, but they can be dangerous. When I was a teenager, we had a heavy snowstorm. I was out shoveling my parents' driveway and a big branch from an overhanging tree came crashing down. Missed my head literally by inches.

      So yes, I love trees, but I'm just a little wary of them too :)

      PS - We planted 3 Eastern red cedars, 2 maples and 4 redbuds to replace the oak (and another young maple that was 75% dead). I'll post some photos later this spring when the maples and redbuds start leafing out!

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  4. My condolences! So sad to lose a beautiful old tree, especially an oak. Sad to think of all the years that tree has been growing.

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    1. I hear you, Jason. Well, hopefully it lived a good life and had lots of 'descendants' (in the form of sprouted acorns buried by squirrels). I know that it certainly created a lot of sprouts in our yard in the short time we lived with it!

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  5. That tree was huge! I'm glad it didn't fall on your house! I'm so glad you replanted more trees in its place. :o) They'll be beautiful year round.

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    1. Thank you! I'm very excited about the redbuds and maples. And we didn't have any evergreen trees before we added the Eastern red cedars, so yes it's nice to have a bit more green in the landscape in wintertime :)

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  6. Wow, that was a huge tree! That makes me nervous about all the Oak trees in my backyard. I always freak out when the wind gets really strong. Since yours was hollow, it's probably good that it came down without too much damage. Still, it's sad when an old tree dies. I'm looking forward to photos of your new landscaping, though!

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    1. Thanks. Of course oak trees are very majestic (as JT wrote) and I wouldn't mind owning some in my backyard, but I don't think I'd ever actually plant one. This experience and nearly getting brained by a tree limb growing up (see my response to JT above) have made me want to plant trees that are a bit smaller and more manageable. Thus the redbuds! (I know the maples will probably get fairly large if they do well, but with our two-story house on a hill, we needed at least a couple of decent-sized trees in the front yard to give some proportionality to the landscape...

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  7. Many fav native trees you are planting....I do hate to lose a mature tree but they do die and we redo our landscape...I am slowly taking down mature tres being invaded by a non-native pest...too bad really as I lose my whole canopy. Can't wait to see your new bed.

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    1. Thanks Donna. Sorry to hear about your own challenges. What is the pest that is causing you to remove your mature trees? Hope that you are able to replant with something that can withstand and repel the invasion!

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  9. Great post! I have cut the big trees sometimes - very excting. And chainsaw-y. Thank's for sharing. Super! Thanks especially for the video!

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    1. My pleasure. Glad you enjoyed the post and video! :)

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  10. Wow! Felling big trees are dangerous. you should take in to account all the safety procedures to ensure that your tree cutting activity is safe to you. Thank for sharing!

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    1. Yep. Good advice. Or in this case, hire arborists with large chainsaws to cut the massive tree for me! :)

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  11. That first photo is amazing. You would have been absolutely stunned seeing such a large tree that has fallen down. By the looks of the following photos, the arborists that completed the job did a great job of removing the tree.
    Glad no one got hurt, but it is a good reminder for everyone to make sure that their trees are properly maintained and any hazardous trees are identified and treated.
    https://newcastletreeandstumpremoval.com.au/services/hazardous-tree-assessment.htm

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