Saturday, July 18, 2009

Don't Bring Me Down

Today it was my turn to rouse the neighborhood with loud noises on a Saturday morning. I have a Box Elder tree in my front yard (or "Box Alder" as my tree service people spell it) that leans at an unfortunate angle toward the house.

Before I moved in, we got a quote to take the tree out completely and the guy came back with a bid of about $2000. Needless to say, I decided to live with it for a while. Four years later, the tree has grown by leaps and bounds and the branches were hanging over my roof, allowing birds to get into the wood stove despite the cap on the chimney, and over the power lines, so we decided that it was time to do some trimming. I still want to keep the tree for the shade and privacy that it provides, but I wanted to get rid of the half that leaned toward the house and clean the rest of it up a little.

I hired a tree service to do this for me (the price was way less than the original quote to take the whole thing out) and they were supposed to do this in June, but it stormed on the day that they wanted to do it and then I was out of town. So, today was the day. Although there were some clouds in the sky and a few drops of rain, they were able to go through with the removal and trimming.

Here is the tree from the north early this morning:

From the south:

See what I'm saying about the leaning? The other half of the tree also leans, but not toward the house.

At about 9:15 this morning, two trucks arrived and four guys began milling around my yard, planning their attack on the tree.

When I was younger, my parents hired a man named Terry to cut down and trim some trees. Terry and his crew were about the only tree service in town, so you didn't have much choice if you needed to get some work done on your trees. They would wander around the yard for a while, looking at the trees from all different angles, all of them with their arms folded across their chests. None of them spoke, they just shifted from leg to leg, staring at the trees. Eventually, they would nod in unspoken agreement about a plan of action and amble over to the trucks to get out their equipment. Generally, Terry would send some poor other guy up into the tree and the rest of them would stand around staring at him as he worked. Occasionally, they helped pull down or direct the fall of a branch, but mostly they just watched the other guy, arms folded, shifting from leg to leg. This must be something they teach in tree removal school, because the guys who came to my house today did almost the exact same thing. It looks a little something like this:

(Note: This is not my tree or my crew, obviously.)

I will say that the poor soul up in the tree was the owner of the tree service, so he gets more points than Terry for actually contributing to the operation in a meaningful way. The other guys did their fair share of standing around, but they pitched in to help when necessary.

Here's part of the tree outside of my kitchen window just after it fell:

Toward the center of this photo, you will see the chipper shooting pieces of my tree into one of the trucks:

Here they are, actually working:

You can see the pile of tree remnants in the back of the truck with the black cover on the back:

Once they cut everything down, the forklift made its entrance:

They had to use it to remove the large pieces of trunk from the side of the tree that they removed.

Loading the trunk onto the truck:

I think this part rolled off of the truck, so they had to try again:

About two and a half hours later, everything was cleaned up and my poor tree looks like it got a bad haircut. This tree grows like a weed, so it will fill out in no time.

What should I do with the stump? Draw a smiley face on it? Perhaps put some plants on there? I'll have to think of something...

This picture makes it look like the tree is still tangled in the power line, but it isn't:

The guys wanted to have a look at the waterfall, so I was cleaning up small branches and debris in the yard while I waited for them to finish and found these berries growing near one of the trees:

I think they might be raspberries because the stems stay on the plant when you pull the fruit off.

Look at the other surprise that we found in the yard at the edge of the creek, far from the house (thank God):

The guys were gone by 12:15, but they snagged some other business in the neighborhood while they were here. I think they made two stops at other houses to look at potential projects.
I'm glad that we got this done so that the tree has time to recover before we put the house on the market next year. It definitely looks better without all of the dead branches and the one trunk threatening to fall on the house.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

When I was little, I remember a few thunderstorms causing the falling of trees and my dad out there in the storm cutting it off the fence so the cattle wouldn't get least your project was less anxiety-ridden.