Saturday, January 7, 2017


A one hundred foot tree has shaded the west side of my house for 18 years. An old, giant, live oak. A tree expert pointed out a rotten core in the tree and warned me of the danger it posed hanging over my bedroom roof. I didn't want to do it. I just hugged that rugged trunk and called it my friend and thanked it for its many years of shade.  The smallest part of the trunk was an easy fall.
Down it went and it was just slice and dice.
Nate's Tree Service has a cherry picker to raise the sawyer up to the tree top. But the soil was so wet and muddy, it was in danger of getting stuck. The chipper could not maneuver between the trees, so the guys dragged the brush to the chipper.
That didn't stop the job. They came prepared. The climber took over. He whacked his way up the main trunk to the roof.
Some of the big laterals are the size of small trees.
Once into the over story, the climber struggled with the thick brush, hand cutting his way to follow the limb and gain a foothold and a place to drag his ropes and hooks along with the chain saw he was wearing.
The tree fills the sky, hovers over the roof and in one place a far reaching trunk bends heavily toward the ground. A tree close to the house doesn't crush the house when it falls. The danger is when a  distant  tree goes over and slams into the structure. I didn't want to cut this old friend. But wet soil, with nine days of steady rain in the forecast plus the possibility of a cold snap putting heavy snow on the limbs made me wary. I decided it had to go. The rotten core was just about roof level and about four feet long.
The sawdust and a huge chunk 0f a lateral branch fall to the ground.
All clear, the guys on the ground cut off the brush and haul it to the chipper.
With most of the big laterals removed, the tree is looking skinny but the top has to go first and there is still a lot of tree up in the air.
Finally, the top succumbs to the saw.
He cuts himself down the tree. That piece of blue sky on the right is where the tree used to be.
The biggest hunk goes down. Part of the rotten spot visible.
Piece by piece, by piece.
Goodbye, old friend.
When all was down on the ground, the rot wasn't bad. My tree could have stood for another 50 years-maybe.  I have yet to count the rings to determine its age.  But, I have already planted a replacement for this tree and now it will have a better chance to grow with more sunlight.
I was very impressed with Nate's Tree Service. The guys blew the sawdust off the roof, porches, my driveway, even places where they made no mess. They shoveled chips in any spots on the ground that were disturbed by the heavy truck tires and left my place looking great. They were, in a word, awesome.

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