In my last post, I mentioned how we were having connectivity troubles with our satellite internet, due to heave foliage.
It’s very windy today.
Since we switched cables on accounts, we’ve had constant interruptions in service, to the point that my daughter was having difficulties working.
I’d gone outside to use up more of the rain barrel’s water around the yard when the girls came out to take a good hard look at the tree situation.
The satellites are aimed through a gap between two trees. A gap that is mostly filled with leaves right now.
The question was, should we prune?
It came down to a particular branch on one of the elms beside the small gate in the chain link fence.
Now, I’ll be straight about the pair of trees on either side of this gate. I would love for them to be gone. They were planted in a poor location, and their roots are currently pushing up the sidewalk blocks. My ideal plan would be to remove both trees, pull up their stumps, and lay down a new, wider, properly installed sidewalk that would better accommodate my husband’s walker. That is a HUGE job we are in no position to do for many years yet, if at all.
I’m pretty sure that when the current sidewalk was installed, the pavers were just laid down on the grass, and then some dirt was thrown up against the sides so the lawn mower could go over them. I think the paving stones forming a small patio under the kitchen window were install much the same way. Those ones are being lifted and shifted by the roots of the elm tree in front of the kitchen window; another problem tree.
I understand why my mother planted them. They provide excellent shade. The problem is, she didn’t think far enough ahead when she chose the locations. Now, the one by the kitchen is a problem for the roof, as well as the patio blocks and the basement wall. The ones by the small gate in the chain link fence were planted too close together, never mind the sidewalk running between them.
So these are trees that have many issues.
In the end, it was these many issues that had us agreeing to prune away one of the major branches growing towards the house.
That, and they’re elms. We could cut them down to stumps, and they’d grow back. The one in front of the old kitchen had already been cut back significantly, leaving behind a flat top the yard cats now use to hang out on. 😀
I didn’t have my phone with me, so I have no before pictures, but this is how it is now.
As you can see, this is not the first time this branch has been pruned!
This was also our first opportunity to use the pruning paint I found, which is black, so it’s not easy to see in the photo.
The girls had started off using the long handled pruning saw to cut it, but it started to jam. I ended up bringing over the step ladder and a buck saw. Once up there, I could see that where they’d started cutting had a huge knot, out of sight from below! So I started cutting a few inches away. We never did have to cut all the way through; the weight of the branch itself started breaking it, long before. One of my daughters grabbed it with the hook on the long handled pruning saw and was able to pull it the rest of the way down. After that, it was just a matter of cutting it free from the tree, which required one daughter to lift the weight of the main branch while the other did the cutting.
Once it was on the ground, I was able to go at it with the reciprocating saw and cut it into manageable sized pieces for hauling away.
Except for the main body. We set that aside for now.
We were thinking of the possibility of my using parts of it for carving, but I don’t think that will be possible.
It looks like the core of this branch was already rotting away! I think I even see insect damage.
Which means, if we hadn’t taken it down now, it may well have broken in high winds, like branches in the tree in front of the kitchen window already have. Well, that’s a likelihood for any of the trees. The rot just made this one a higher risk.
You can just see the black end of the branch we cut in this photo.
You can also see some of the many dead branches above it.
In this photo, you can see part of the elm tree on the other side of the gate, on the right side of the photo. Lots more dead branches, all out of reach.
Taking this branch down has opened up the yard quite a lot! I remember getting that same feeling of openness when I cut away the broken branches in the elm by the house (on the left edge of the photo, you can see part of a branch from that tree). We still have plenty of shade, too.
In the end, I’m glad we got it done. Whether or not it reduces how often our internet cuts out (which happened again while I was writing this, but only once, rather than the 3 or 4 times when I wrote my last post), we will see. For now, though, we got the one branch done, and will hopefully find a way to get at the dead ones, too. I’d really rather not wait for storms to bring them down, if I can!