Before (07/27 9 pm) and After (07/28 9 pm)
The Emerald Ash Borer is responsible for our losing two of our most prominent trees. Each was here at Pinehaven before we moved here over 28 years ago. One stood beside Clayton Road about half way to the north edge of our property; the other sets beside Sam's lane at the southern edge of our property.
Both tried to put out leaves this spring. By July both had lost most of those leaves and were fast becoming hazards. At the least they were unsightly.
I contracted with Joe's Tree Service in West Alexandria to have them removed, the brush ground, the logs removed, the stumps ground out, the chips hauled away and everything raked and cleaned up.
The "north" ash - June 24 ... street view
The "north" ash - June 24 ... yard view
The "south" ash - June 24 ... beside Sam's lane
Yesterday I got a call from David Clopper, owner/operator of Joe's Tree Service and he asked if his crew might take the trees down today (07/28). They said they'd be here at 9 am.
By 9:30 am they were parked beside Clayton Road and began work on the north tree.
A view from the garden eastward
While they worked they placed orange cones beside the road and directed traffic
Several hours later, there was just a "gap" remaining
This morning the south tree still stood majestic, solid ... and dead
The chipper/shredder was moved to our driveway and pulled partly into the lawn
After lunch, work began on the south tree
It was a hot (87°), humid (60%) July afternoon with cumulus building
By 1:30 pm, this crew left for a lunch break and there was sudden quiet
But then they returned and work commenced on the south tree. They fired the chipper/shredder up and began hauling the dead limbs to it. Sawdust and chips ...
Nearly 4 pm - seven hours later - both trees are just about down.
It's well after 5 pm until they have the larger logs loaded and they're ready to pull out
Even so, there's still some to go - and the stumps, too - but that will wait for tomorrow
And then tomorrow (7/29) arrives. The sun seems hot already as it rises. The sky is covered with a July haze. The humidity has risen overnight as the air cooled slightly. Time to get back to work ...
The "south" stump sits among sawdust waiting for the workers who arrive about 9:45 am
"This must have been a fence-row," the one man tells me. "We're having some trouble with metal inside that tree," he explains. I looked at the stump and I failed to see anything but wood. Still, the worker says the tree must have grown around a fence post many years ago. I've only known this tree for the last twenty-eight. I should have counted tree rings to get an idea of its age but it's too late now.
When Mom and I return from grocery shopping and having lunch, the workers are putting the final touches on the south stump. It's gone but there's still some cleaning up to do. This crew did a great job of clean-up. They even used a power leaf blower and cleaned sawdust off my driveway and Sam's lane.
And so the last of the logs is loaded and the truck strains to back out of the yard. The engine quits a number of times, the load is so heavy. But soon (about 12:30 pm) the truck is heading up Clayton Road and the project comes to a close.
The "north ash - July 29: It's just a bruise in the yard filled with sawdust
The "south" ash, the larger of the two, shows little evidence of ever having grown here
Now I'll have to back off a bit, let the wood chips and sawdust decompose. They'll sap nitrogen from the soil, probably kill the nearby grass. By next spring I'll be able to carry some soil to the spot and plant grass seed.
In other year or two, the ashes will be no more than a memory.