Saturday, April 25, 2015

RIP Tree

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Wednesday this week I took the day off to be at home when our large silver maple tree in the back yard was scheduled to be removed.  I hate to see any large tree taken down, let alone ours, but it was dying and we felt it was becoming unsafe.  Part of the trunk was showing stress, rot with ants and visibly leaking sap in a stress area.  The questionable segment was hanging right above the back end of the garage and gardens, also some of the upper branches, including some above the neighbor's house, had died and started to rot.  So rather than wait until gravity became too much, we had it taken down safely.  Many thanks to Nikolas' Tree Service!

20150422 004First off, yes, that is snow on the ground Wednesday morning.  In fact, it spit snow almost all day.  No light accumulations like what you see here from the overnight hours, but still it was snowing.  Again.  Actually not bad outside for late November or early December.  Too bad it is late April.

Secondly, if you must skip all my yadda yadda, there is a short video at the end and 28 more pictures after the break - click where it says 'Read more' at the end of this post.

The crew showed up by 7:30 am Wednesday morning.  I had already been up and taken the 'before' shots you see here.  Getting the boom truck into the back yard was the tricky part, and probably took about 20 minutes to accomplish.  They were very safe and slow, driving on plywood and putting blocks by the wood edging around the tree as to not destroy it when the tires rolled over.  I was impressed by the care they took, not just in getting the truck in and out, but overall.  I do not have pictures of getting the truck in because I did not want anyone to get nervous.  Anything that might happen to get accidentally destroyed would have been our property, after all.

I took over 140 images, including a dozen or so short videos.  I decided to stay well out of their way so they wouldn't have to yell at me or worry where I was.  For taking pictures I mostly stuck to just outside the back door on the landing to the front of the house for the tops of the tree.  I did watch out the windows and did not try to hide it - I found watching them work pretty fascinating.  They knew what they were doing and seemed like a well oiled machine.  Talking to Nikolajs at lunch, however, he said how it was going slower because a control in the bucket broke the day before so he had to have one crew member at the base of the boom controlling that particular item manually.  To my untrained eye it all seemed like it was supposed to be like that.

201504220 071bOne thing that happened that I should have but did not consider, is the squirrels.  It all started for us on Easter Sunday 5 years ago, when we had a very long branch break off due to squirrels that made a large hole out of a small hole (probably where a branch broke off years ago - I saw a lot of holes in limbs they brought down where the old branch stub rotted, leaving a hole), and kept weakening the branch until it broke.  Squirrels had probably been living in there for years, which still upsets me because we had a crew trim the tree shortly after moving in and they surely noticed but let it go.  (Bastards.  Nikolajs was a certified arborist.  My advice if you have trees is to only hire a certified arborist - and verify insurance.)  When he got to that part of the tree this mama squirrel made a mad dash away through the branches and into neighbor Dave's black walnut trees.  I watched Nikolajs take down that small part of trunk carefully and vertically, and when it got down one of his guys went through the bedding carefully and found one baby squirrel, eyes still unopened.  He carried the squirrel and bedding to the burning bush next to the compost bin and set him up in a little nest on the ground.  I went back there while they were at lunch and got a couple pictures.  While the crew was cleaning up one of the guys told me he saw mama squirrel carry off the baby over the fence.  I'm sure she did because I know she did not go far and I thanked them for caring.  Inside I thought:  Good!  I was thinking maybe we'd be raising a baby squirrel this year - I don't know how the cats would take that!

Although I trusted them I kept an eye on them almost constantly, either outside taking pictures or inside looking for the next stage to go out and take more pictures - it was cold enough to be snowing, remember.  And like I said, I found it fascinating to watch.  I told him I was taking pictures because it would take me a long time to grow the next one!  He actually appreciated it and we arranged for him to stop by the next evening for me to give him a copy of all the pictures and videos I took that day.  He mentioned putting new pictures on his website and I would be flattered if he did.  I'm no pro, and with our digital camera I do not zoom.  If I zoomed in or if I crop to the same parameters it is the same resolution.  I'd rather get the whole shot and zoom in later where I need to, if even necessary.

One thing that did surprise me but shouldn't have was the sheer weight of some of the pieces of trunk even 20-25 feet off the ground.  I understand why he was cutting them shorter and shorter.  When one would fall to the ground you could feel it.  He did that with only a few pieces, let them fall without being roped, as he got down to the trunk that was to be brought down in one last piece.

Below is video of the felling of the trunk, Youtube did not give my video a thumbnail for some reason - and I tried re-uploading it twice - but the video works.  I think email readers must visit the site to view the video, click here for that!  And Read more below!

About 8 hours of tree removal told in 28 more pictures after the break!

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Blue Witch said...

Wow, that was some kind of removal job! Glad I wasn't paying the bill...

Did you keep any of the wood?

And what plans for the area where the tree was?

Scoakat said...

Hi BW!

You are right about the bill! And I thought about keeping some smaller pieces for fire pits but I don't know where I'd put it and I still have some firewood in the garage from the summer before last.

The area around the tree is a future project. There are roots not far below the surface, which is why they built that area up originally. In a couple years we will have to hire someone to remove the stump, roots, wood trim and excess dirt and regrade the area. That will probably cost just as much as removing the tree!

Scoakat said...

Oh - and it took a day or two but my video has a thumbnail now!

Blue Witch said...

In the UK we can buy a product called 'Stump Out' which will dissolve the remaining root and stump over a few months. It is applied by drilling holes into the stump, filling them with product and covering the area with plastic.

It works well and does not affect the surrounding soil.

I wonder if you can buy something similar? It would save a lot of money!

Mom said...

Wow, that was a big project and fascinating to watch, I'm sure. Great video and pictures. It looks so different with that tree gone. You do wonderful taking pictures an video. If he uses your photos, will he take some off the cost!!!!????

Scoakat said...

BW - Yes, we have those products here as well. But I don't know the extent of the roots under that dirt, and we still would have to get rid of all the excess somehow and regrade the lawn. It is not a big worry for us now. For the immediate future we will probably put flower pots on the stump.

Hi Mom! Thanks, and no there will be no discount. It was already paid off same day.