A Bit of Forestry, Part One

It was Chloris who, on seeing some of the evidence from my busy Six on Saturday post, suggested that we might be doing ‘a bit of forestry’, and yes, she was right.

Now, we all know that ‘mighty oaks from little acorns grow’, but they also grow from 8 foot tall whips like the one we planted in 2005, which you might just see in front of the left hand sculpture (now, like its partner, largely hidden by ivy) in the above photo. It clearly seemed a good idea at the time to plant an oak tree in the fairly new woodland edge border, just as it was to nurture every self-seeded hazel or holly that appeared in the garden, but we have learned a lot since then and in particular that trees GROW and trees CAST SHADE! Having come to our senses in recent years we have been removing the self-seeded trees and also some planted in the woodland itself in 2000 – and now it was the end of the line for the oak, rather taller than its original eight feet.

A little wary of its height, we decided to ask our friendly young tree man (whom we affectionately refer to between ourselves as Tom, Tom, the lumberjack’s son) who removed two recalcitrant stumps for us last year for less than the cost of hiring a stump remover, for a quote that might tempt us to have him do the hard work for us. However, he was currently too busy with lumberjacking elsewhere and, although intending originally to leave the project till the autumn, almost on a whim the Golfer set up the scaffolding a week ago and, bough by bough, the tree has been all but felled:

With his engineering background the Golfer was able, as he has proved when removing other trees, to work out where it was best for the branches to fall, and how and where to tie a rope to brace the fall, and he was quietly chuffed, I am sure, that he got it right every time…even so, we were both heartily relieved when the last and largest of the upper limbs came safely down on our neighbour’s pigeon loft roof, exactly where he had anticipated. Only one plaster was required in the course of the week, and none of the three precious witch hazels at the foot of the scaffolding (clear targets for miscalculations) were in any way damaged, thank goodness!

There is still the rest of the main trunk to remove, of course, but that will be more quickly and safely accomplished and at less height, probably with a chain saw. Smaller side branches were removed with an extendable pruning saw, and the main branches with a hand saw. My involvement was a combination of ‘watching’ the Golfer to ensure he didn’t cut a limb from himself instead of the tree, fall off the scaffolding or fall victim to any other unforeseen mishap, support the branches as they were lowered to the ground and cut and bag up the leaves and smaller twigs – all 20 bags of them… A vital part of the process, nonetheless, but not deserving the same plaudits as the Very Useful Golfer.

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11 Responses to A Bit of Forestry, Part One

  1. Well done that Golfer

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, he got a round of applause from me when the last of the upper branches came down – and our immediate neighbour was SO disappointed that he missed that part!

  2. Cathy says:

    Well done both of you, but especially the Golfer for setting up and climbing up a scaffolding and sawing away by hand. Phew, in this heat too! 👍

    • Cathy says:

      We invested in lightweight scaffolding as the old stuff (passed on to us) was getting heavier! We probably only spent an hour or two each day we tackled it, but for the Golfer that was after several hours on the golf course in that heat – but he feels the cold easily so can cope with higher temperatures better and rarely gets too hot!

  3. Jackie Knight says:

    Wow, that was some undertaking, well done both of you!

  4. Martha says:

    Impressive!

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Martha – I suppose there may come a time when we are just not able to do these things ourselves, but while we can we will!

  5. Jim Stephens says:

    It’s very satisfying to do yourself these jobs that on another day you’d have got someone else to do. You can think of all the money you’ve saved and what you are going to spend it on, for one thing. The scaffolding looks extremely useful, I’m tempted but would only use it once or twice a year and where would I store it. I’m not convinced that putting “safely accomplished” and “probably with a chain saw” into the same sentence is a good idea, looks like you still have a good way to go to reach the ground. I want to read “A bit of forestry, part 2, mission accomplished”.

    • Cathy says:

      The stump removal was done at a very reasonable price but it would have to have been a very tempting quote to have the tree cut professionally – as you say, it was very satisying to have achieved it ourselves. The lightweight scaffolding was a good invesrment (we had been given some very heavy scaffolding years ago but it was getting increasingly heavier!) and gets used for wisteria pruning, hedge cutting and house painting as well as tree cutting. Your comments about the chainsaw were noted! 😉

  6. tonytomeo says:

    Oh my! I should have skipped over this one! I am an arborist and work for other arborists. These sorts of techniques make us cringe. In the end, the results are the same (if a tree is removed). I would rather just see the stump, and wonder how the tree was cut down . . . without actually seeing the process.

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