Going, Going, Gone

I willingly confess to so great a partiality for trees as tempts me to respect a man in exact proportion to his respect for them. ~James Russell Lowell, American poet

Remember this?

I decided you might be interested in the rest of the story, so here goes:

To recap, the immense silver maple straddling the property line between our house and the one next door was fatally injured in a mid-July 2018 storm:

A couple of our neighbors worked with a saw to tidy the mess, “Band-aiding” the problem until the pros could tackle it. After chopping the logs, they found most of them covered in grubs, thoroughly rotten, and unusable even for firewood:

Because this was a “line tree,” both neighbors had to agree on its disposition. We contacted several experts who advised removing it, as it had reached its life expectancy and would likely topple onto our roofs in a future storm. Eventually, our neighbor rationalized away his objections to the project’s cost, and one day this huge “basket crane” appeared:

Work began in mid-December 2018, amid shortened daylight hours:

A crew of up to three experts trimmed first the top, lighter branches down to the four-pronged trunk. They used a wood chipper to grind away the numerous branches they’d dropped to the ground:

Guess they’re not afraid of heights. For reference, the white house in the background belongs to another neighbor (not party to the tree removal), and it’s three stories tall:

Much of the heavy lifting came when they sawed the four trunks into moveable segments to haul away. The dropping of those heavy segments produced numerous holes in the ground. Three days before Christmas 2018, they were down to the stump but cautioned its removal might prove challenging. They thought someone had poured concrete into it, and they feared for the safety of their grinder. (See the whiteish chunk on the right, below the lowest ridge?):

Nobody wanted this rectangular “monument” left behind, so they forged on:

Christmas Eve, and they finally finished the work:

We’ve not discussed what to do with the empty space, but I vote leaving it at rest for at least a year. After all, it’s suffered major trauma, don’t you think?


12 thoughts on “Going, Going, Gone

  1. It’s not only suffered trauma, there are all those roots under the ground to consider. I can’t quite remember, but I think I’ve read that you shouldn’t plant another tree in exactly the spot where one was taken down. As always, consult with your experts! Tree removing and tree planting probably are in different bailiwicks.

    It is interesting to watch a tree being taken down. The last thing anyone wants is an out-of-control tree.

    • I’ve heard that about not replanting a tree in the exact same spot, too. No way do we want or need another “line tree” anyway! Houses change ownership, and one can’t guarantee the new homeowners will be as cooperative as the former ones. And you’re so right about all those tree roots — this tree was immense even when I was a kid, so I can only imagine how extensive its root system was!

  2. Debbie, I agree, leave it rest for at least a year because it’s already been through so much trauma. I always feel so bad when things like this happen to trees because I always think of them as almost longstanding souls that have lived for so many years; adding so much good to the earth. It’s sad.

    And like your reader shared in her comment, there are all those roots under the ground to consider. That won’t be an easy task.

    Thanks so much for the tree update, my friend. Hope you’re having a fantastic Sunday!

    • Ah, Ron, you’re a “tree hugger,” too!! I don’t know why but I feel a kinship with certain trees, and this one fit the bill. Perhaps because I had so many fond memories of it from my childhood; perhaps because a part of me thought it would always be there.

      When I sent my sis the photos, she practically cried — yes, she shared so many of those early memories of this amazing tree.

      Looking on the bright side, we won’t have to rake all those leaves anymore (but that’s such a flimsy positive point that I hate even mentioning it, ha!)

      Enjoy your workweek, and stay safe in all the cold we’re sending your way! xo

  3. Environmentally or landscape wise I can’t say anything about that, but emotionally it’s something your heart will mourn for a while. It’s a loss. We live on a block that had massive trees. Because of so many hurricanes we’ve loss so many. The whole neighborhood has changed even in front of our house. At first it was hard to see the missing trees. But over time it becomes the new normal. I would rake over the spot and put some fresh soil on the spot and plant some grass seeds. Maybe this summer put a large rock garden in that spot if it still looks too empty.

    • Thank you for your thoughtful suggestions, Tanya. I like the idea of planting grass over the bare spots. That will be easier to mow, and it won’t attract lightning! I feel sorry for the birds and squirrels who planted nests in its limbs though. Come spring, they’ll be looking for a place to roost and come away puzzled at the huge hole in the landscape.

      I know what you mean about the hurricanes. It seems to take forever for the land to heal once those things blow through. Yes, they do change things. I hope some of your neighbors are starting to plant trees and let them grow for the next generation!

  4. I have to leave home every time we’re taking down trees. I can’t stand to see it, even when I know they are diseased or injured or just in the way. At the lake we just had several trees taken out, I was glad I wasn’t there. I will miss them when I do return to Alabama, but I know it was all for the good of the yard. I guess I figure the tree was there long before me and who am I….but definitely a dangerous tree needs to come down. 😦

    • I can so appreciate this. Part of me wanted to leave as well, but the part that won out wanted to make sure they did the job right. It’s not cheap to have a tree removed, especially one that tall and wide. I’m rather enjoying having access to plenty of sunshine this winter, but I fret over whether the summer sun is going to be unbearable without my tree!

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