Saturday, May 9, 2015

Home & yard improvement - part 1

The arborist and his team rope up and begin

Once this 70 to 80 year old birch tree was beautiful and healthy.  About 50 years or more ago it was severely topped and this week it had to come down because the center of the tree was rotting.  I think this may be a fungi disease called “heart rot” that afflicts hardwood trees.  The rot in this tree was caused by the severe topping and took years and years to reach this condition.  Heart rot can start in a branch but it will eventually migrate to the center of the tree and after time kill the tree.  It was sad to see the tree cut down but it had grown over the house damaging the roof and was also threatening the neighbor’s house. 

Sadly our birch tree was rotten

Now that we know that it was rotting it is scary to think that a big storm could have toppled it and done real damage to one or both houses.  We had two other birch trees that hang over the driveway trimmed.  That trimming revealed one large branch with the beginnings of heart rot also but the rest of both trees had not yet been affected by it.  Trees with heart rot can look fine on the outside but the inside can be soft and sponge-like.

A giant truck and a chipping machine took care of the leaves and branches.  The chips will be used in parks and gardens.  The larger logs will be donated to people who depend on wood stoves to heat their homes but who cannot afford to buy cut wood.  It makes us feel a little better to know that the tree will be getting a second useful, albeit, different life.

As part of our remodel project there will be other trees and shrubs that will have to be removed.  Some have to go because they are in the way of the foundation for the addition.  Others are invasive plants that started up from seeds left by birds and/or squirrels many years ago.  They are completely overgrown and are spreading, choking out other things, and most have wicked sharp thorns.  We hope to do away with the grass lawn altogether and just have low maintenance local native plants eventually.  Already there is additional light coming into the yard making it possible in the future to grow things that produce fruits, vegetables, and flowers that have needed more sunlight than the yard previously received. 

Goodbye Camellia

One of the casualties was a lovely old Camellia bush that produced a bounty of flowers this year but was located right where a new drainage system has to be installed.  Now we won’t get water in our lower level library and perhaps we can find another Camellia to plant in a better place. 

The last rose

A very old rose bush was sacrificed too as it was right where the new kitchen will be constructed.  Bob says he knows which rose it is, and is confident that we can replace it once everything else is completed.  Change is difficult.  It is the idea and hope of the new addition that keeps us going and looking forward to a lovely big kitchen in a few months.

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