It's a disease, for sure, but I also think the trees are weakened by our changing climate. It's either hot and dry or cold and wet. There seems to be few average days. Everything is extremes. And that doesn't make for happy pines.
About a month ago I called Bruce Cunningham with Affordable Tree Stump Removal, LLC (937-839-4654) and asked him to stop by and give me an estimate on a blue spruce - once a beautiful tree and a focal point of our south yard. He called yesterday and said he'd be by in the morning to take it down.
Here's how the tree looked at 8 am this morning. You can see why it needed to be removed. The entire top was dead and bare. In fact many of the limbs on the north side (facing the house) had also lost their needles. It was quite an ugly sight. The blue spruce to its right is also dying, though I think I'll be able to wait a year or so before having to have it removed.
At 9 am, on the minute, Cunningham and a crew of two arrived to take the tree down. His chipper-shredder is out of service so he brought two trucks to haul away the limbs and debris.
Cunningham began with a saw on a long (expandable) pole and began cutting all the lower limbs.
Slowly the tree seems to stand on a single bare leg.
It was one sad-looking tree before they began; it was even sadder half an hour later.
Now workers have tied a rope high in the branches and another readies a chain saw for the final fall. They'll drop it precisely to the right of the truck shown in this frame.
A cut is made on the north side of the tree and a wedge cut here. After the wedge is removed, the worker will walk around to the north side of the tree, ask "Ready?", and make the final cut.
This is the moment of a sharp crack and the tree begins to topple. See the rope tied near the top? Two other workers are pulling and the tension drops the tree precisely where they want it.
And there it is ... down. The poor old tree has probably stood 30 or more years (I must remember and try to count the rings in the stump before it's removed). But of late it's looked haggard and it's good to see it gone.
Now the job is cutting the tree into manageable logs. The stump will be cut closer to the ground, an orange X placed on it for the utility companies who will flag the area and then Cunningham will be back to grind the stump out.
The pine looks even worse from below.
From our south living room window, a new view opens. We can easily see Clayton Road and even have a nice view of Sam's mailbox. Both have been hidden for all these years.
A few more cuts and workers will sweep the ground and rake the debris from the driveway. Great clean-up! And they're done before 10:30 am, only an hour and a half after beginning.
We laugh but there's some truth to the fear that we'll have to change the name of our place from Pinehaven to Maplehaven. With the emerald ash borer killing our beautiful ashes, eventually the only thing left with be our oaks and maples.
I've pulled an old video that I made on July 4, 1987 and captured a frame of the two blue spruce. The tree cut today is on the left. The tree has grown quite a bit in 26 years and I imagine the tree was already a decade old when this picture was taken.
July 4, 1987