Sunday, March 8, 2009

How the Mighty Fall

This is a sad story, I'm telling you up front. A good friend to us - and to countless others - has, quite literally, fallen. It was our sad choice after consultations with experts..........
This is our spruce tree in the front yard. It was planted by the former owners of this house when the house was built (in 1963), and was several years old at the time. It was truly a sheltering tree and home to many birds whom we could hear chirping from spring to fall.

However, with its shallow root system and immense
size, as well as the windy conditions we experience regularly at the mouth of Big
Cottonwood Canyon as storms come and go, well, it had become a potential hazard. Had it toppled, it would easily have crushed our home or the
neighbors'. Nevertheless, it was a very sad day yesterday when it was time to have it removed.

At about noon, the tree removal company arrived with their trucks and equipment. In the first picture (above left), they've just begun cutting off some branches. To the above right, the picture shows the tree as it looked as they prepared to fell it. In addition to stripping the bottom half, they'd also cut branches out around the power line running on the near (west) side of the tree. It's pretty tough to see the tow line connecting the tree to the truck in the far left corner, which will pull it down. But you can see our house in comparison, as well as the neighbor's house and our beautiful snow-covered mountains in the background. It was a beautiful sunny but cool day.

Final inspection of everything before it comes down.

Timber! This became quite the neighborhood spectacle. Everyone must have been starved for entertainment.. I thought I was prepared mentally, but emotionally I wasn't. And I hadn't prepared for the noise......... the groaning, cracking, and thud........ It was over in a few painful seconds.

Not even much dust to speak of........

DH walked over to the stump....... And we counted the rings. 58.

Under its skirt. I asked them, as they were cutting up branches, to watch for and save any birds nests they came across. Either they forgot or there weren't any, because they didn't save any.

So the neighbors returned to their lives while the crew spent the next few hours chopping up and chipping the remains of the tree, as well as splitting logs for firewood. Our front yard looks bare. Ugly, even, because nothing has awakened from winter. The lone green sentinel is gone. But spring will come, and we have plans....

We'd like to fence in a small area and grow a garden. Yep, in the front yard (we already have one in the back). Check out this idea from Mother Earth News from a 2008 issue.

Ours would be smaller in scale with a minimalist arch for an arbor to support some climbing roses. The outer area will be planted in drought-tolerant native plants (xeriscaping), and the interior will house vegetables and herbs. And hopefully some of the birds will forgive us and return...........


  1. It is a sad thing to have to take a tree down, I had a Sycamore in my front yard that I had to cut down because the roots had gotten into the sewer lines and I had to have the roots cut out every 6 months for 5 or 6 yrs. The town would come and do it, and they charged a lot. Got to the point, they said they wouldn't come out any more, so it had to go. I miss the shade and the beauty, couldn't be helped. Like yours.

  2. We lost a 15 year old oak tree in our front yard to a tornado in December. Our house still does not look the same. We need to plant a new tree there but it will be years before a new tree will shade our house. I still miss that tree....

  3. Poor tree... I hate it when we have to cut trees down... and I bet you, you feel "naked" now, VBG.... it will take a while, but once you plant something new and wonderful in its place, you will once again feel sheltered from gazing eyes.... :-)

  4. Once you get your new garden, you won't miss your old friend so much.

    It's fun seeing the street where you live!

  5. It is always painful to have to part with such a beautiful tree that has been with us for a long time.You will remember it,and once you do a change in your front yard it will help your loss.

  6. It's always sad to see a big tree come down. I get emotional too. But necessary sometimes... Hope you get your beautiful garden in it's place!

  7. Hello Cathy, OH, I am sure it was painful to see your mighty tree come down but I think your plans to plant new things and the trellis will create a wonderful new look to the front of your home. Hugs Judy

  8. I hope you have a fire pit/place where you can burn your tree and benefit from the smells and warmth and light...It's all a great circle of life, and though you will miss your friend, the roots that will die below the soil will give such nutrients to the new plants and trees that you will put in its place. A beautiful post in some ways though I appreciate your sadness today. xo Susan

  9. Sad to see it go, but I wouldn't want it in my living room during a windy day either!

    New Spring planting will be fun! We planted climbing roses out back on a pergola last year, I'm hoping they grow grow grow this year!

    Looks like warm weather is on the way - I had to smile yesterday as all the kids in the neighborhood got out their bicycles!

    Have a good day,
    Hugs, C

  10. This almost made me cry. We have a very distressed globe willow in the front yard that my DH thinks should probably be cut down, but it shades the front door and living room and is just the main character of our small front yard. It's one of the first trees to bud in the spring (now, in fact) and it would break my heart to lose it.

    The garden idea is wonderful, though. And it probably wouldn't have worked with the tree there. Best of luck with it!

    word verification game: preticid-adj. meaning "before ticid"


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