Tree hugging

I have these two big cedar trees in my backyard. I used to have three, but one was cut down almost two years ago. The trees are along my back fence and provide a fair bit of privacy from the sidewalk and street beyond. They’re quite tall, two stories high, and really do add something (I don’t know what exactly – seclusion? shade? needle droppings?) to my yard.

Last May, I was out weeding in the dirt and flower beds alongside the fence on two sides of my yard. I was beneath the cedar trees, probably bitching about all the stupid little weeds that keep growing there. And for the first time I noticed that one of the trees seemed to listing rather alarmingly towards my house. In fact, down there in the dirt, it looked like the tree was partially uprooted, though no roots were showing. I looked up and realized that this could be the reason that many of the tree’s branches were dry, brown, and falling off: the tree’s roots were probably getting no water.

I went back in the house and fired off an e-mail to the manager of the strata council who looks after the outside of my property. I explained what the tree looked like and how it was leaning so much towards the house. I asked that an arborist come and assess the situation and that some way be found to save that tree (and more importantly, my privacy). I requested to be kept in the loop as to what might happen, unlike two years ago when I simply came home to find (well, okay, let’s get this straight: I eventually noticed it, long after the fact!) that one of my tall trees had been unceremoniously removed and my yard privacy compromised. I even attached photos.

To make a long story short, there followed a number of phone calls and e-mails, and then three weeks ago, the arborist arrived to do his thing. He figured that years of winds from the south had finally gotten to the poor tree and pushed it over. He thought he could save the tree by topping it, then straightening it and anchoring it with rope and a couple of posts. So what used to look like this:

now looks like this:

Basically, ugly as hell.

The arborist added some root stimulant to the dirt and admonished me to water the tree regularly, every two days, about 20 minutes at a time, in the morning NOT the evening. Which, good girl and occasional friend to trees that I am, I have been doing.

And so far, that tree is still alive. Ugly, but alive.

It’ll probably look fabulous next spring.


9 responses to “Tree hugging

  1. Yes. It would effecitively take out our dining room.

  2. We have a huge fir behind our place that is magnificent and scares hell out of me every time we have a storm. It seems secure but when the wind is blowing and I am in bed my thoughts immediately go to that tree. May your cadar, however, find a new lease on life.

    • I know what you mean, because it was likely years of autumn/winter winds that always blow from the same direction that finally pushed my poor cedar to its precarious angle. If your fir was ever toppled by the wind, would it hit your house?

  3. so let me get this straight (so to speak) that tree was at an almost 60 degree angle before it started reaching for the sun again in a desperate attempt to stand up and ultimately was at a 45 degree angle before you noticed it? and no one else has noticed it either? Poor tree.

    • Uh – sorta. It depended upon where you stood to actually see how much the tree was leaning. Directly from my back deck or behind it on the street, it didn’t look bad at all. You had to be pretty much on my side fence to really see how far it was tilted, and quite honestly, I am rarely in that position. So basically, it’s a good thing that I was weeding under the tree that day and saw that big mound of dirt where the roots had let go. When I crawled out and examined the bigger picture, it was very obvious what was going on. (I really am a little embarrassed that I never noticed it earlier!)

  4. Gotta admit, that would make me nervous, living in the shadow of a leaning tree. I mean, I can rope myself up pretty decently with a stout enough bra, but come nighttime them puppies are coming down.

    • It was a little nerve-wracking, true, especially since the leaning tree was pointing at my bedroom window. Now that the tree’s been topped, if it fell over, it would only hit the back deck and maybe the kitchen window. Windy season is coming up, so this cutting and straightening and tying up better work!

  5. Fingers crossed for next spring. How long do you have to water it for?

    • I’m not sure, but I think until Fall, when it’ll be cool and dewy out every morning. I sure hope I have a green thumb, because I really don’t want to lose that tree!