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About the Header Image: Idlebrook Wendy Darling Evensen "Wendy" one of our four Labrador Retrievers.

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Good Bye Catalpa Tree

Good morning,

Yesterday's article was all about a wonderful photo trip through our neighborhood with three of the grand kids.  Today, though, we're getting serious about that wonderful old catalpa tree in our front yard.

If you look carefully, just to the right of the house is a big tree leaning to the right. We were very concerned that it was not long for the upright position.  Our driveway and neighbor's home to the right in this image is in the path of the direction of the fall if this tree is left to its own devices.  We were certain the drought this summer didn't help since the root system probably had been compromised by lack of water. The neighbors hadn't said anything and probably didn't even notice from their angle.

So, we called The Tree People.  Yes, that's their name.   This company had removed a much larger oak tree from our back yard in 2003 so we felt comfortable calling them.  Their estimate was reasonable and they got on the job quickly.

The first three men showed up and we chatted while we waited for the man who does the specialized work up in the tree.  Notice the tilt of the tree up the driveway to the right of the house.

Most of the leaves were gone from this tree for the season.

I was sad to see the vines go, though.  The vines have a story of their own.  No, I don't think the vines killed the tree.  The tree was there 31 years ago when we bought the home and has gone through two severe droughts now.  Catalpa wood is soft and limbs come down easily.

Soon the real specialist arrived.  Watching this man work was fascinating.   He had all the gear strapped on and was ready to go in minutes.

While he was getting ready, the chain saws were being fueled.

Soon the action began.

 Before I realized it the tree climber was up the tree removing smaller branches as he went.

 He is a real "tree hugger."  (I'm sorry about that, I just couldn't control myself.)
These images of the men standing beside it put the size of the tree into perspective.
 The man in the tree systematically tied off, then cut sections of the tree that were pulled in a safe direction by the men below.
 I'll jump ahead now, to images of the final cuts.
The men below continued to guide the large chunks of wood to the ground.
I've (wisely) moved over to the porch to take pictures.

The men have now worked down to the part of the tree that is completely covered with vines.

 The men on the ground worked on sawing up portions of the trunk...
...while the "climbing man" began the final cuts.
 He carefully planned where the tree would fall...

This looks really scary to me.

 They checked where the tree would fall and placed a large part of the tree to break the fall.

Here's a video of the finale.

Then clean up began.

 These guys did a great job of cleaning up the mess.

They left the fireplace length pieces that will be the next project for My Honey, our daughter, and me.  We need one so often, we're shopping for a log splitter.

 I counted about 130 rings in that tree stump.  And, you can see we were right when we were concerned about the health of the tree.  The center was decaying and the tree could have easily come down on its own in a storm.

But, don't worry about the vines.  I'll be sure they live on.  Some healthy cuttings are busy growing roots in the dining room.  :)

The Tree People will be back with a stump grinder soon, then we'll rework that area of the garden.

I feel much safer now that this tree is down even though its removal changed the whole ecosystem of our front garden.  I'm glad I got it all recorded and hope you've enjoyed seeing the project, too.




Diana said...

Hi Lois!
As much as I hate to see a tree being cut down, it still find it fascinating to watch. I do understand the safety issue. I was wondering what the vines were?
Love Di ♥

grammie g said...

Hi Lois..that's quite the undertaking and the video ..I found myself lurch back when the tree fell..lol
I have a Catalpa tree right in back of my garage and it is getting pretty big and some branches lie on the roof. I get asked what am I going to do when it gets bigger and I tell them....Move the garage of course lol!!

Marit Johanne said...

How exciting to follow the cut down of this big tree. It is sad when old trees has to be cut down, but when they are not safe it is better to do it this way. It is good to have experts to do the job!

Wanda..... said...

Isn't the sound of the tree hitting the ground unbelievably loud. We've cut many damaged trees here and I never get over the booming vibration it produces.

Kelly said...

Wow! That's quite a process. My grandparents used to have two huge Catalpa Trees in their front yard. They offered so much shade, so I can see losing it really will change your ecosystem! Glad to meet another Cincinnatian!!

Unknown said...

Hi Mrs. Evensen,

Thank you for the kind and flattering write-up. We enjoyed helping you again.


Elaine said...

Such a shame to have to take a big tree like that down, but with it leaning like that you made a good decision to do it in a controlled situation. It will definitely impact your ecosystem, but it will give you an opportunity to put in more sun-loving plants. The sounds in your video brought back childhood memories. My dad was a logger, so the sounds were ones I heard often.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Lois, this post was so timely as we will be having a maple tree removed from our front yard the end of this week. It's a beautiful tree (not sure how old as it was here when we bought the house 8 years ago) and loke you we hate to see it removed. But, we also have concerns that it could crash down on our home. We already find lots of small branches on the lawn after windstorms. The tree specialist told us trimming it would be as costly as removal and then it could still fall later after being trimmed. We will document its removal too and share on our blog.

Cathy said...

Hello Lois
You brought back memories of us having an enormous pine tree taken down. What a big hole in the sky that caused - changed the whole shade factor on that side of the garden.
At least you will be able ot put the wood to good use.
Take care

Lois Evensen said...

Good morning,

Di, the vines were different types of ivy: the small one was a cutting from my bridal bouquet many years ago; the larger one was a house plant that I had planted outside when it got too big for a pot inside. They will both live on. :)

Welcome, Jon. Jon is the man on the left of the first picture of the three men standing at the bottom of the driveway. He's the son of the owner of The Tree People. Jon, I'll have images of the stump grinding here on the blog, too. Jon, thanks for the great job.

Wanda, that boom sound was shocking to me, too, as I stood there with my camera. These guys knew what they were doing to be sure it landed safely. I am just so glad that tree is down safely instead of falling into a home during a storm.

Thank you, everyone, for stopping by.

Very best,

beagleAnnie said...

I really enjoyed reading this big event. I dropped by from Floral Friday Fotos.