Thursday, April 24, 2014

A tree comes down and garden possibilities open up

The tree guys finally came yesterday to cut down one of two trees growing behind our house. Not only is it an ash tree that has a fair chance of eventually succumbing to Emerald Ash Borer, but it's also closer to our house than we'd like and closes off the North and West yards from each other.

The ash tree closest to the house is the one that came down.
The tree guys got started by trimming off all the branches until only the
totem pole-like trunk remained.

The last view of both trees.

They quickly got the trunk on the ground and then cut it into
smaller (although still massively heavy) chunks.

Sawing on the trunk. The stump is still visible. Note the large piles
of logs in the background, which they left for us for firewood (and
which I moved most of myself -- very heavy work).

Then they ground out the stump using a large grinding machine that
was so loud, I had to take this photo from inside.

Then they brought in a front end loader to pick up the trunk sections and
load them on their truck. Peaceful silence followed their departure.
I was able to move most of the logs myself, but I left the
heaviest ones for my husband, who cut them into sections with
his chainsaw and moved them to where we store our firewood.
I made my (complaining) children pick up several large wheelbarrows-
full of sticks from this area, and I'm working on moving the sawdust/
mulch to the larger pile of wood chips they left:

They left behind this large pile of wood chips, which I will need for my
trees and shrubs area in the West Yard.

All the logs gone, only the mulch left to deal with.
The yard has truly been opened up now.

It's always a shame when a large tree must be cut down (and we don't have all that many mature trees to start with, so we didn't make this decision lightly). However, I think the yard looks much more open now than it did in the first photo at top. The tree was simply too close to the house, although this was not the fault of the previous owners who planted it, as we built the addition that stands too close to the trees. There was also the question of how long before Emerald Ash Borer strikes.

Now there is much more room (and light) to plant in near the house, and I hope the remaining tree will now be able to fill in and grow toward the increased light (the tree we cut down stood to the south of the remaining tree, blocking its sunlight).

I plan to expand the narrow planting strip along the back of the house to enclose the spot where the tree stood, in a generous curving garden bed along the whole length of the house. My plan is to plant mostly gold-foliage and yellow-flowering plants in these beds to light up this north side of the house. The part of the bed right next to the house is in shade, but the rest will be mostly sunny. Any favorite gold/yellow plants you can recommend?

Thanks for reading!


  1. I know how much work removing large trees can be. I think it looks great and you're right, you'll have more sunlight and area to garden. Having the stump ground is a fantastic idea, too, look at all the chips!

  2. Thanks for reading, Karen. I'm glad you think it was a good idea to remove the tree -- I still feel a bit guilty, even though I know it will make the yard much nicer in the long run. Hope your gardening is beginning well this spring! -Beth

  3. It's a shame about having to cut down a mature tree, Beth, but if it's too near an extension then the roots might cause damage to the foundations of the building. You will get more light into the house and I like your planting scheme plans for that area.

  4. Thanks for visiting, Linda. I'm sure you're right about the tree and I'm glad you agree with my decision to remove it. And thanks for the encouraging words about my planting plans. Best, Beth.

  5. Uprooting or cutting down a tree is always a bittersweet endeavor for me, so I understand where you're coming from. However, considering all things, it was a good idea that you had it cut down. A garden is a nice trade-off. Those wood chips just saved you some bucks for mulch. Good luck with the gardening! Cheers!

    Melva Ullman @ MPDT

    1. Thanks for visiting and for your nice comments, Melva! -Beth