Tuesday, April 10, 2012

And down she comes...

Today was the day we took down the big tree. A sad occasion. I say "we" but actually it was an arborist, in his 45' bucket truck, with a 60' boom crane, and one or two other folks besides. They made quick work of it: from arrival on site to cleaning up in just about four hours. I figured I might have had some time, if I ducked out of work early, to get some pictures of them in action. Alas, no. If I've had some more forethought, I'd have set up my phone to do a time-lapse video capture from a window.

As it turns out, it is pretty difficult to get someone to take a tree out in a hurry. This became an acute situation over ten days ago, a Friday. In the following few days I called seven local companies, had it seen by five, and had three express a serious interest in the job. That was the state of things Monday afternoon. I didn't hear anything from anybody for nearly three more days: a combination of sickness and death kept people from returning my calls. In the end, I only ever got one proposal in my hands that I could seriously consider. One other gave me a quote over the phone, promising a follow-up email with insurance info, which I am still waiting for. The third said he could maybe get around to it in 2-3 weeks. Overall I'm satisfied with the work, but at $2500, it was not cheap.

Yup, it was a big tree.

Click to embiggen. Don't try to count rings in the picture; it's not really possible with the chainsaw marks. As this and the next image show, the tree's time had most definitely come. All the dark area in this image is wet and rotten wood. There are a couple of obvious cracks, and radiating out at 3 o'clock are pencil-sized bore holes from goodness knows what. Are those roots coming up through the middle?

What you see here is what remains of the main trunk. The picture shows the bottom end. See how it's in two pieces? Yup, that's because it split on its own when they set it down with the crane. There was essentially nothing holding the two halves together save for a network of roots that sprouted deep within the split and cascaded downward. The split clearly got started ages ago, and the tree's been trying to back-fill ever since. My arborist informed me that the tree probably shouldn't have been able to stay up as long as it did.

Another view across the main trunk. More rooty goodness. With everything sprouting out the middle there, it is interesting to consider what it would look like if you took these trunks to a sawmill and made heavy planks of them.

As it turns out, some neighbors were happy to take the wood off my hands. Lacking experience in these matters, I would estimate it would make two face cord, once it's sawn and stacked.

Now gazing across the back yard all you see if a lot of open sky. It just doesn't seem right. But to fill in that horizon will be a decadal task. For now, the only certain thing is that our lawn will get thoroughly baked this summer!


Martha said...

Glad it came down safely and not onto of B's play set or the house!

Anonymous said...

Just saw an article in a home improvement magazine on turning a tree stump into a planter!