Friday, September 19, 2008

Damned tree

Well, this was not really a surprise, though it was unpleasant to receive anyway.
Yes, the big old silver maple in front of my house has to come down. Probably 80 to 100 years ago silver maples were planted along all the parkways in this neighborhood. Well, guess what their lifespan is? About 80 years. There are big, dying trees everywhere you look. Some more obviously in bad shape than others.

Mine has some scary-looking dead limbs high up, and is obviously rotten down low, too, since a swarm of bees found a hollow space to move into just 10 feet off the ground.
I'd already gotten a couple of estimates to take it down: $1,700 and $1,100. Ouch. Not to mention the resulting bee deaths.

I am going to try to see if I can somehow preserve the section of trunk the bees are in, but it would probably require a crane to lift it into my yard. This will have to happen in the late fall or winter. I'm not sure if the bees would have any chance of surviving the disturbance.

And then there's the loss of lovely shade.



  1. Will you (or the city) plant something in its place? What?

  2. Drat. And damn, that's expensive! An estimate like that would have us outside with a chainsaw... I do hope the bees will be okay.

  3. Aw that sucks. I have a really old pine tree in my backyard that really needs to come down but the birds love it and it's close to the power lines so Scott is afraid to cut it. Of course the power company never trims it good enough when they come out to do the tree in the line check. My back yard will be really sunny when it's down too.

  4. I wish I could trim it myself, but since it's on the street, you have to use a city-approved contractor and pull a permit. And a power line to a street light has to be moved for it.

    I will have to do some research on what best to replace it with, but I lean toward a linden. They're very slow-growing and hardy, and have a nice shape. Not to mention lovely-smelling flowers.

  5. Wait, it's on the street, a city-approved contractor has to do the removal, and it involves power why the hell are you responsible for the cost?

  6. I agree with others that it's sad to lose these big old trees. My next-door neighbor had 4 huge trees removed 2 yrs ago and it's made a big difference in my yard: less shade, fewer leaves. I'd love to have both back. But one of the four actually fell down, coming down in a violent storm and landing within inches, literally, of my house. I watched it happen, and will never forget the image of that monstrous tree in slow motion rising up out of the ground and slowly falling, falling, falling toward my living room as my entire family watched. Thud! The earth shook. So, I say that if your tree (I assume it's on your property and not the city's) is that old you may be preventing something pretty awful by euthanizing it.

  7. We lost a big silver maple a few years ago; it landed inches from the house. If only it had hit the damned thing! As it was NOT on the house, insurance didn't cover it. If it had fallen on the house, insurance WOULD cover it. So we were out $2500 for stupid tree removal. We have another monster silver maple that we have specifically instructed to fall directly on the living room.

  8. We live in Boulder's Mapleton Hill neighborhood, which was either named after the trees planted there in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, or which caused the city to plant those namesake trees. In any event, the city arborist keeps tabs on the trees, and when one needs to be removed, plants another, hardier species of maple in its place. As long as all the trees along the street aren't replaced at the same time, the streetscape remains intact.

    In Boulder, the city removes and replants the trees along the parking strip and in the Mapleton Avenue median. This is not the responsibility of the homeowner.

    Mom Taxi Julie wrote about her "really old pine tree" in her backyard. I have two really old Siberian elms in mine. When I moved here 20 years ago, the tree guy said one was then 80 years old and the other 100 years old. Do the math. We've spent a fortune keeping them healthy (annual elm leaf beetle spraying, deep feeding, root watering them in winter when the ground is soft enough) and the deadwood trimmed out. They harbor squirrels and birds and provide shade in summer.

    Good luck, Kitt, with finding a suitable replacement.

  9. Unfortunately, Vicki, Denver considers the parkway city property, but the maintenance of it is up to the homeowner whose property fronts it.

    Pam and dg, I do worry that it will hit my house; we've had some pretty serious windy nights this summer where I could see the whole thing swaying a bit. While it would be great if insurance covered my costs, the hassles involved in repairing my house would be so incredibly huge that it wouldn't be worth it.

    What I wish I'd done, Claire, was have it trimmed way back when I first moved in last year. Then it would've been less obviously dangerous and I might've bought a few years for it. Now, though, I suspect the city will not budge on its having to come down entirely.

    C'est la vie.

    I left an old, dying tree in the backyard of my old house and it really would've been hard for me to take it down (both emotionally and financially). This one I'm not as devastated to lose, at least.