In all, the before and after photos below represent about 2 1/2 hours work. This includes pausing to take some video, and also pausing to drag away the branches and tree trunks I took down.
What a job!
Let’s start at that group of three maples, where I left off last time.(click on the photos for larger images)
Taking down the two dead trunks was… interesting.
They also turned out to be mostly dead. Not all dead. The very tips of them still had living branches.
The first one I took down, you can see dangling in the top right photo. It got hung up on the still living trunk. Except on a dead branch of it. I cut off about 3-4 feet from the bottom of the dangling trunk, pulled it down more (the photo is after I’d done this), cut off another 3-4 feet, then used the extended pruning saw to cut down the dead branch it was hung up on.
Then I tried pulling both out, but one of them was stuck on something. What could it be?
Turns out the dead branch I just cut had dropped straight down into the loop of barbed wire from the fence post to the tree trunk. I ended up having to cut the pieces up more, so I could get them untangled both from the wire, and from each other.
The other trunk was much easier. 😀
I cut them at about 4 feet from the ground, then trimmed the stumps short. That’s when I discovered why those two were mostly dead. They were rotting out from within.
The last trunk is looking pretty good, though, and I hope it will do better, now that it’s cleared up.
The next job was the big willow.
Oh, what a job that turned out to be, too!
Let’s start with the before and after photos.
There were a lot of dead bits at the bottom that I cleared away. Some were loose, some had to be sawed away, some broke loose as soon as I touched them.
In one area, there were a lot of leaves caught up at the base of a bunch of dead stems. Once the stems were cut away, I started clearing out the dead leaves and discovered the rotting remains of an old trunk. It’s hard to guess how long ago that was cut away. I used to climb this tree as a child, and I don’t remember there ever being more than these 4 trunks, and I’m 50.
I made more discoveries as I cleaned it out.
In fact, I ended up taking some video of what I found.
As I worked around the willow, moving from place to place, I would often feel instability under my feet. I would pause to pull out whatever dead branches I’d stepped on. I kept finding more and more, and before I knew it, I had filled my wheel barrow several times over! It’s surprising how much the leaves can hide. At one point, I picked up a branch I’d stepped on, and suddenly my rake, leaning against another tree, got knocked down. The branch I picked up turned out to be much longer than I thought, and I had unknowingly put my rake right on top of part of it! There is so much more under there, too.
More work will need to be done around that willow. There are some large branches leaning off to the side to come down, and many dead branches as well. This will do for now, though. Hopefully, taking the weight of those big side branches will reduce stress on the trunks, and add a few years to its life.
After that, I moved on to the spruce trees nearest the willow.
This first pair of photos is from further out, near another willow.
I did not have the energy to take down more dead trees, yet. This smaller willow is also looking pretty rotten. 😦
These others were taken as I moved across the rows of trees.
Here is another view, taken from by the fence line.
I didn’t take a before picture from there because I would have been standing in branches if I had.
More is going to have to be done around here. One of the larger spruces is going to have to come down. It’s almost completely dead. None of them are in very good shape, but with continued clean up, pruning, and taking down of the dead trees, they should recover quite nicely. In between a couple of spruce trunks, you can see two maple trunks leaning off to the side. One of those trunks is dead. There are several others I will have to look more closely at, to see if they can be salvaged.