Saturday, October 12, 2013


We used to have a locust tree in our front yard, but now we don't have it anymore.  We don't have it because it started being unhappy.  At first when Mom moved into this house, the locust tree seemed like a very nice, happy tree, and every year it put on lots of little green leaves.  Then in the fall, the little leaves turned yellow and fell off.  Which was okay because they weren't hard to rake up, like sweetgum balls are.

Then we noticed that something was happening with the locust tree.  One year, a huge branch that was almost one-third of the tree died.  So Mom had to pay somebody to cut that branch off.  After that, we started to notice that there were more dead branches in the tree, but they were mostly small ones, so they didn't seem too dangerous.  Also, the tree was growing fewer leaves than it used to.

Here's a picture of the locust tree's roots.
Also you can see where the big limb died
and got cut off several years ago.
After a while, the roots looked like they were rotting.  Spaces opened up underneath them.  At first we thought maybe some animals such as rats were digging down there and living under the tree.  But we never saw any animals coming or going, and there were no tracks in the snow, and none of us dogs could smell any animals there.

Mom asked her regular tree trimmer guy if the locust tree was sick, but he said he thought it was fine.  Then she asked a man from a company that comes once a year to feed our little trees, and he said the locust tree seemed okay to him.  But Mom kept worrying about it.  Mom thought about how there could be a big windstorm sometime or maybe an ice storm, and the locust tree would just fall over and land on our house or on the neighbors' car.  Mom didn't like having this picture in her mind, and I didn't like the picture being in my mind either.  So Mom decided to have the tree cut down.

Yesterday a bunch of men showed up at 8:30 in the morning.  They went right to work, and in about 2 hours, they had cut the whole tree down and ground up the stump.  We got to watch them do it, and Mom took a bunch of pictures.

First what happened was that a man climbed up the tree.  He had a rope harness on so that he wouldn't fall.  Also he had spiky things on his shoes to make it easier to climb.

He cut a lot of smaller branches off first, and some of the other guys put them into a big, noisy shredder thing that ground them into mulch.

After that, the man in the tree started cutting bigger limbs off.  He tied a rope around each one before he cut it.  That way a man on the ground could lower it down slowly and not let it hit anything.

Then some short, fat pieces of the tree got cut off.  They didn't have ropes, so each one landed with a big "thud!" on the ground.  We could feel the vibration of every "thud!" all the way inside the house.

Pretty soon, there wasn't much of the tree left.

So the guy started backing down the tree with his rope, and he would cut off pieces of the tree as he went down.

Meanwhile, the men on the ground picked up the pieces and wheeled them to the trailer.  We couldn't believe how strong these guys were, because they could move a whole bunch of heavy tree chunks at once.

The pieces got stacked on end in the trailer.  It was weird to see a whole tree in chunks.  It looked like some sort of puzzle that you were supposed to put together.

Here's what the inside of the tree looked like.  The chainsaw made scratches, but I think if you sanded them out and put some stain on, you could make the wood very pretty.

It was too hard to count tree rings because of all the scratches, but a man who was there with the crew said he thought the tree was 40 or 50 years old.

Mom took a picture of some lichen.  She thinks lichen is interesting, but I don't because you can't eat it.

At last it was time to cut the tree off down to the stump.

The final cut was a V-shape, and then the tree was pulled over toward the V.

After that, it got cut into more chunks and loaded on the trailer.

When the stump was cut off even shorter, guess what we saw!  The tree was all rotten in the middle, so there was a very good reason why it was not a happy tree.  We're not sure what caused all this damage, but there wasn't much strong wood left to hold the tree up if a big wind came along.

The next thing that happened was that a machine came in to chew up the stump.  It had a wheel with teeth on it, so when the wheel went around, the teeth bit into the stump.  Pretty soon there was nothing left except a pile of sawdust and little wood chips.

After that, the men used shovels to fill up the hole where the stump used to be.  They stomped on the wood chips and dirt to make it all level.

And when they were finished, we just had a spot where there used to be a locust tree.  We feel sad because the tree had to go away, but at least we don't have to worry about it falling on our house!


  1. A lot needs to be said for your gut instinct that proved you right vs. the "experts" that said the tree was fine. After not going with my gut instinct too many times with disastrous consequences I now follow them. Good thing that you did too.

    1. Dear Kelly,
      I agree that gut instincts are very important. My gut instincts, as a dog, have often told me that I should EAT, and I always try to follow those instincts!
      Sincerely, Piper

  2. It's a good thing that your mom decided to have the tree cut down. The scenario of the tree falling on your house or your neighbor's car is not pretty at all. When it's showing signs that it might fall down come the next bad weather, it's better to be safe and have them cut down immediately.
    Melva @ MPDT