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.