I’m not pining away, but the pine tree is. Or was.
This week we tackled a big job that I’ve been wanting to do for a few years, which was to remove an enormous old pine tree near the bank of Lake Massawippi. The photo below from 2014 shows the beginning of the end of this tree… needles on the upper branches are much thinner than they should be. It also shows how the tree towered above the ones around it.
Several years ago we cut off the dead branches at the top of the pine and not long after the branches below began to die back, leaving an unsightly blunt end to the trunk and dead branches silhouetted against the sky. I looked out over this pine from my desk and from the dining room deck where we eat many meals in warm weather, and with each glance the visual irritation became more acute.
Last week, when I couldn’t stand it any longer, the job finally began. We didn’t measure the tree before we started but we estimate that it was 60 feet tall or more.
That height and the position of the tree made removing it a complex job. We didn’t want to damage the surrounding trees, the boathouse nearby (just out of the photo to the left) or the play structure that our grandchildren use regularly. To be safe we had to remove the branches one by one, winching each down to the ground. And in order for that to happen, someone had to be at the top of the tree, cutting and roping and lowering the branches and sections of the trunk itself.
Jacques has cut many trees in his years of garden work. But how often has he been 60 feet off the ground, standing on a single branch, seemingly quite relaxed?
It took many hours to complete the job. And what a difference removing the tree has made. No more dead branches silhouetted against the sky. No more blunt end of a trunk drawing attention to itself. Only a larger opening that shows more of the lake beyond.
A small oak tree seeded itself on the lake bank a dozen or so years ago — you can see it on the left side of the opening onto the lake in the photo above. With more exposure to sun, I expect it will grow quickly to fill in the gap. But for the moment, we have a new view across the lake to the far shore.
One job remains: trimming the dead branches on the bottom of the pine tree to the right of the one we removed. Doing this will allow the trunk to stand out from the vegetation behind, adding a strong vertical line that I think will lessen the visual confusion.
What fall jobs have you tackled recently? Or are you doing as I did, postponing a big job to another year?