Friday, July 20, 2012

Live and Learn

The back "corner" of my lot was filled with pine trees which I greatly dislike. They drop dead branches, pine cones, and fall over in ice or wind storms (though none of mine ever did). I always wanted them gone and should have tackled it when I first moved in this house 12 years ago—when the trees were 12 years smaller. I finally, on impulse (a bad move) decided to remove them.

The two pictures (the only ones I could find quickly) show what the back corner looked like with the trees in place:



When a crew of ne're-do-well tree cutters came through the neighborhood looking for work, I hired them to just drop the trees and trim the limbs into a pile. My plan was to then hire somebody with a chipper to chip the limbs into mulch, and find a wood harvesting company to give the trees to for free if they would haul them off. All the above was a really bad idea. With the building business off, I discovered nobody wanted my huge pine trees—not even for pulp. They weren't worth the cost of retrieving them.

So this is what I was left with (plus a big hole in my wallet). Somehow, these trees look much smaller in these pictures than they actually were standing next to them. Most were 50-70 feet tall before being cut.



So, I had to bite the bullet and hire a professional tree service to come in and clean up the mess: grind up the branches and limbs, grind the stumps, take down four more huge trees still remaining, and haul off the logs. They told me they could have done the entire job from scratch for just a little more than what I paid them to clean up the mess the other crew left. Ouch.

They took down four more trees and cleaned up all the mess in about six hours. And they had the equipment to do it:




I had never had stumps ground before, so was fascinated with this machine. I had originally planned to have a backhoe dig the stumps out because I wanted the surrounding roots pulled up as well so I wouldn't hit them when I dig new holes to plant new trees/bushes. But this grinder digs a hole 2-3 feet wide, cutting out the large roots on either side of the stump:

I want one of these: (I kept all the mulch from the grinder and had them spread it out since I won't be planting grass in this area. My plan is to fill the area with fruit trees and bushes.)

So, here's what a couple weeks and way too much money accomplished. It was an expensive education, but I learned my lesson: Go slow, get numerous estimates, DON'T hire people that knock on your door looking for work. The fence on the left is my property line. My neighbor's pines will continue to drop pine cones and limbs into my new clean space, of course—but at least I can now toss them back over the fence into his yard instead of having to get rid of them myself. (The owner of the clean-up tree crew and I were talking about fruit trees, and he told me about the fruit trees he had seen on a recent cruise to Belize. Apparently the tree business is good thanks to guys like me.)


1 comment:

  1. Ok, so that was indeed a "live and learn" event. But now comes the fun part, right? Designing a garden/tree/shrub space in a nice, good sized, flat space. That sounds like fun. Can't wait to see what you come up with!