Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Felling of a Grand Old Dame

Chris took this series of photos of our majestic white oak as it was cut down. This is the "before" image. I estimate the tree to be fifty feet high. A swing hangs from one mighty branch.

This maple was also to get a little trimming. A similarly-sized maple on the other side of the oak is being cut down as well.

The crane has arrived.

The crane, reaching over the house. The oak is the largest mass of green there behind the house.

This fellow directed the proceedings from my mowed meadow.

The first limb is removed. . .

. . .and hoisted. . .

. . .to the front yard, where it is revealed to be as large as an entire tree.

The limb is denuded of smaller branches, which are fed to the chipper.

The bald log is hoisted back over the house to the mowed meadow, where it is cut into firewood.

A quick count of tree rings show the tree to be seventy or eighty years old. But those samples were taken from twenty feet up. I would guess the age of the tree to be around a hundred. I try not to think of that as I look at these pictures.

I had been under the impression that oaks only produce acorns every four years, so I was surprised to see these all over the yard. As it turns out, oaks tend to produce a good crop every two to five years - two, in this case. Add to that that an oak doesn't even begin to produce acorns until it is at least twenty years old, and the tree's last desperate dispersal of nuts is even more poignient.

The squirrels have been busy planting them. I have collected a box of acorns to try cooking with, though I can't say I found the raw flavor to be appealing.

I had wondered how we would eventually get the ragged old swing down. Chris regrets not snapping a photo as the branch came in for a landing: one of the arborists hopped on the swing for a ride.

A professional tree-climber at work.

The top of the tree is hoisted.

And here is the trunk, topped with the arborist. They lopped it off just below the remaining fork, and left twenty feet of trunk standing, as we had requested, for the woodpeckers. The rest, they left for us as logs and mulch.

It pains me to kill a tree, but it had to be done, and these guys did a fantastic job of it. They also came in a whopping $500 lower than their $1500 estimate. So if you live anywhere near Foxboro, Massachusetts, and you need an arborist, call Tree Tech. May we never have to call on them again.


Kris said...

It's sad to see your trees come down. One good note - your tree people obviously knew what they were doing, removing the oak with dignity. Glad you left the stag for wildlife. So many just clean things up and leave no habitat at all.

The squirrels will really miss it. :-|

darkandlight said...

The positive thing is, with the sun getting into that area, you'll be able to see what new plants decide to thrive there. I'm sorry about the removal of the tree though. We have a giant sugar maple that must be over 100 years old.

Karen said...

Very sorry to hear about the loss of the oak tree, was it ailing? We have removed many trees around here as well, and every time I do it, I get an ache in my heart. But we always replant something new to try to make up for it. Your tree service guys looked very professional, and that's a great thing, amazing pictures!

Diana said...

Good tree service. Isn't it amazing what can be done with modern technology (equipment)? I bet it was fun to watch (even if there were mixed feelings about the tree coming down)!

Tricia said...

How terribly sad that a grand ole tree had to be taken down. We live in South Florida but have a retirement house in North Central Florida where we have Live Oak trees and Slash Pines. We have had to remove 2 of the largest Pine Trees, 1 I think died of old age and the other was struck by lightening. Both were about 40 ft tall. The one struck down was between 2 Live Oak trees and we lost the touching branches for the oaks but thankfully they both have survived. I would be hysterical if I had to remove any oaks.