six on Saturday, 9 July 2022

I love trees. I really do. In fact, I this spring I completed a six-week workshop on the identification of trees held by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. In the last two decades, though, a tornado and various straight line winds took down three large oaks and four very tall pines, punching through the lake house roof, taking out part of my deck, and my neighbors’ deck twice–not to mention knocking down a half dozen or so trees in domino effect along the way. Consequently, sometimes for the safety of yourself and others, a diseased tree or one at risk in the increasingly critical climate change Alabama is experiencing has to come down. So, reader warning: this six on Saturday focuses on tree removal in the garden. For budding, flowering, and otherwise prospering plants, visit the site of The Propagator. While there, check out the guidelines for for Six on Saturday and join in next week.

1. I’ll start with a red oak in the circle of the drive right in front of the house. I’ve nursed this tree along for several years, removing weak limbs. But it was now so diseased in the top that it was time for removal. Much more sun makes its way through to the circle now, so other shrubs, will be the better for it–especially the crepe myrtle in the foreground that rarely blooms. Next year it should offer more color than the three or so coral clusters shown in the photos below.

Notice the weakened canopy of the red oak in the first photo below; clearly, its time had come. Now, I find the work of tree removal guys and arborists fascinating (of course, they are not always one and the same), and I have sincere appreciation for their talent. The next three photos show the process of the trunk removal. The work is being done by Harper’s Tree Service.

2. A wonderfully tall pine was the second major job. The tree towered above surrounding hickory and oak tops, but with lopsided branching. Its weight was definitely off balance and there were no other trees sufficiently tall to cushion it from strong winds. If it were to have fallen, it would have done major damage to my neighbor’s house. The photo below shows just the lower portion of the pine in the center with an unhealthy cedar in front of it. Notice how close it is to the neighbor’s house.

The first photo below gives some idea of the off-balance growth of its limbs. But, the pine is gone now. The bucket truck would not easily get in to do the job this time, so a “climber” did the work. The dying cedar is gone, too. The essential thing, however, is that the home next door is safer–as are a host of other trees.

3. In the spirit of being a good neighbor, I had another pine and a less than lovely maple along the property line removed as well–all of this on the eastern edge of the wooded part of the garden. I’ve been making slow headway in this area, turning it from merely wooded to wooded with a plan.

4. I have a new canvas now. More sun. Less green. But some good possibilities. And I do still have trees. The pencil-looking hickory in the center of the image was growing next to the big pine. It took some collateral damage in the removal, but I think it will recover; there are limbs there that are difficult to discern in the photo.

5. There was some less dramatic work done as well, but it was nonetheless needed. The gingko was topped years ago in the tornado that put an oak through the roof. Fairly quickly, it filled out well from the broken main trunk. Lots of energy went into lower limbs, too, which were growing laterally with a slight downward tilt little more than five feet from the ground. A judicious trimming was good for the tree and everything around it.

6. For the final entry, just a surprise image. I know there are deer in the woods around Highland Lake, but this is the first one I saw taking a morning walk down the road.

And so ends my six. I do have some blooming plants and color in the garden other than green. I’ll try to highlight them next time. In the meantime, I’ll continue to admire and care for the trees.

10 Replies to “six on Saturday, 9 July 2022”

  1. An impressively thorough account of your woodland tree tending, Susan. We had some tree work done at our NC mountain cabin recently, too, and I wish I had photographed the daring acrobatics of those guys as they seemed to swing from limb to limb with chain saws, cigarettes dangling from lips. It was amazing to watch.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Are these climbers not amazing! A pair of spikes on their legs, a strap around their waists, and a belt with a chainsaw hanging and up they go. Their knowledge of practical physics is amazing, too. Rope strength and length, pulley placement, swing arc, and section weight factor into bringing trees down safely–things learned in years of experience. Fascinating to watch and listen to their planning.


    1. They did do a good job minimizing collateral damage and clearing up after. Thank you for noticing the stump! It and the large pine stump will receive memorial planters atop.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You are right. There are a few trees that I’ve already picked out to prosper now that they can get some sun. Of course, the briars and the bindweed will prosper as well!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree. It really can be an art. And I really like the guys who say, “You have a lot of plants. My mother loves all kinds of plants. I’ll be careful in how I bring sections down.”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I worked for these sorts of arborists throughout my career. Although I am just a nurseryman, and prefer to grow horticultural commodities, I am also an arborist. My colleagues had me do inspections and compose reports for them. I worked for some of the best.


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