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Tree Troubles

>> Thursday, April 8, 2010

When we bought our house, we knew that we had some not-so-healthy trees in our backyard.  At the moment we have 3 sugar maples, 1 GIANT spruce, 1 apple and 1 pear.  The spruce and apple are so-so health wise, and one of the sugar maples is doing fairly well.  However, 1 of the sugar maples is exceedingly unhealthy, 1 is somewhat unhealthy, and the pear is on its last legs. 

Looking up into my beloved spruce:

We took some of the dead branches off one of the sugar maples when we first moved in because it happened to stand waving all those dead branches right over our driveway.  I'd prefer not to have to find out whether our homeowners or our auto insurance would cover the damage if our tree squished our car.  Although we bought ourselves some time trimming off dead branches, it's time for the whole tree to come down.

My husband has a client who is a certified arborist, and runs a business doctoring and removing trees.  He's very knowledgeable, and at least thus far seems competent.  I know a number of people who have had bad experiences with tree removal companies, so I'm pretty picky about who I am willing to hire to cut down trees in my yard.  This fella meets all my requirements of bonding and insurance and all that jazz, and also generally seems to have some pretty high standards.  Don't tell him this, but I'll probably pay him whatever he wants to charge us for removing that tree.  The other tree removal companies we've talked to sounded pretty shady (pardon the pun!).

In the background is the one healthy sugar maple, though you can't tell since this was taken in the spring before it got leaves:

The poor pear tree we can cut down ourselves with little more than one swing of the axe, though we're getting a quote for removal of that second maple, too.  It's probably cheaper to do it all at once, but I suspect it will be a little while before I can afford to have that one cut down.  If that tree falls it may squish our barn, which wouldn't be good, although might be better than squishing the car.  Come to think of it, though, if it hit the barn hard enough it would also squish my husband's beloved classic 1983 Mazda RX7 that is in the midst of being restored.  That would be bad.  But, insurance money for the barn might permit us to put in a more useable garage instead.  I'd hate to see the old barn squished, though - call me sentimental.  Thankfully, barring a massive and catastrophic storm, I think that second maple is a long way from the falling and squishing stage.

The happy news?  We have something to plant to replace one of the sugar maples.  A few years back my husband and I found a kit for growing a baby elm tree.  My father always loved elm trees, so on a whim we picked it up for him.  This particular little seed came from a tree that was naturally resistant to Dutch elm disease.  My father diligently followed all the instructions for how to get the baby tree to grow from a seed, and while I don't know the details, I think it involved a stint in the freezer and whole bunch of random soil/water/light manipulations.  Clearly he did something right, as it's now a healthy growing tree, and is getting too big for Dad's yard.

As soon as that maple comes down, we're going to try to dig up the baby elm from Dad's yard, wrap its substantial baby elm root ball in burlap, transport it to our yard, dig another massive hole, and put it in.  I hope we manage to do it properly.  If we wait much longer, even the three of us won't be able to manage getting a root ball that big out of the ground, and rumor has it that spring is the best time to transplant trees.

Surely, this is a saga that will be continued.  Probably with photos.  Hopefully they will be photos of a happy little transplanted elm and a chopped up maple, and not of downed power lines or huge divots out of my yard or anything else bad.  To be continued...


Anonymous April 10, 2010 at 1:39 PM  

I like this post. I suspect many people on the upper east side of the country are working on their trees right now. Yesterday a tree was cut down here and I wrote a story about it on my blog. More than half of the trees here in VA already have leaves and some with birds nesting within. I didn't work with the company that cut down our tree, my mother did, but I did enjoy how the worker whistled the entire time the chainsaw wasn't running. It was nice. Glad you found a person/a company that works well with you.

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