06 May, 2009

So Long, Big Green, We Hardly Knew Ye

We killed it. Well, we may not have wielded the chainsaws, but we signed the death warrant when we faxed the contract back to the landscaping company.

The trunk of the tree was less than a foot away from the foundation, and the whole bulk of it pitched at a crazy angle.

We knew when we moved here last year that we would be taking it out. The roots had already cracked the sidewalk, and probably contributed to the large crack on the porch slab:

We didn't want to risk any further damage to the foundation. Keeping an 85-year-old building structurally sound is difficult enough. This particular corner of the basement seems to have a bit of a moisture problem; there was a lot of efflorescence on the brick walls.

Still, it weighs heavy on the heart to take out such a large tree. Not counting the parkway trees, it's the biggest one we had on the lot. It was a favorite roosting spot for mourning doves, who would gather in the late evening.

The kittens spent large parts of their afternoon watching the activy 'round the bird feeders, just inches from their noses.

Were we to keep the tree, I would have tried to find a way to discourage the daily visits of the red-headed woodpecker. But I enjoyed the brief encounters.

The landscapers came early this morning, and in less than two hours, all traces of the tree were gone.

The house looms so much larger now. And the porch I'm not overly fond of stands out like a sore thumb. We need to figure out a way to minimize the mass of it with something decorative.

While they were here, we had the landscapers take out several other trees as well, including a forsythia way past its prime, with a weed tree growing through the middle of it.

Yep, that's actually two trees in the picture. The landscapers made quick work of these, too.

There were other casualties this day. There was, apparently, a robin's nest in the tree. We found the eggs knocked to the ground, carelessly crushed beneath the boots of the workers. Mom wrapped up the tiny, half-formed birds and took them away. It was sad to see the mother robin hopping along the trunk of the downed tree, searching for her nest. For much of the afternoon, she sat in one of the parkway trees, staring at the house, staring at the empty spot where the tree used to be. Staring at me whenever I looked out the window to check on her. But I haven't seen her since the thunderstorms started up this afternoon.

Without these trees, The Box House looks so much boxier now. We'll replace them with others, set away from the house at a safe distance. But it will be a while before they reach any sort of great height. What we need now is a really fast grower.


min hus said...

It is sad to cut out healthy plants and trees, but it looks SO much better without big green. Isn't it liberating to get rid of it though? My bf recently cut out some overgrown and badly placed yews at min hus and since then I can't help noticing how many people plant large trees and shrubs right against their house. Why? WHY?!

Jen said...

Yes it is sad to take away the tree, but it had to be done. The baby robbin story is sad, too.

We have a pecan that needs to go and a evergreen that needs trimming up. It is a old old tree. It was large in the 50's.

Have fun with all your new plantings.

Karen Anne said...

Agh, the poor robins. Well, I learned today - never cut down trees in the spring time = breeding season, which I wouldn't have realized before.

By the porch standing out, do you mean the grey/white side of the house? Maybe if it were painted a color more like the brick it would not be so noticeable.

Dawn redwoods are fast growers, several feet a year. They do not get gigantic like regular redwoods, more like 50 feet or so,

Joanne said...

min hus--Now that I've had a day to let it all sink in, I do have to admit I like it better without the overgrown tree. Gives us a bit of breathing room. Strangely, a lot of the houses we looked at during our search seemed to have neglected foundation plantings, with huge, huge trees. I don't get it either. Trees are slow-growing, but you do have to try to picture it in 10, 15 years.

Jenni--I'm such a wuss about these things. I like hardwood floors and wood furniture, but hate to be the one to cut down trees. My pioneering ancestors must be laughing at me.

Karen Anne--Yes, the grey part of the building is the enclosed porches. They were originally open porches--we still have the old panels to access the iceboxes on them (and the iceboxes, too)--but were closed sometime in the forties/fifties, by my wild guess. The siding on them is relatively recent vinyl, so I'm not sure how paintable it is. We'll probably just live with it until we win the lottery and rebuild our porches entirely. Too many other more pressing projects.

We planted a dawn redwood last year at the other end of the property; it hasn't grown much yet, but my aunt has one that's growing like crazy.

Karen Anne said...

Old panels to access the iceboxes?