When I was looking through some old photos recently, I found one of the front of our house the day we first came to view it. Apart from the temporary absence of any hanging baskets, it still looks pretty much the same, except there was no big junk cherry tree growing by the road five years ago. (I think the cherry is the tallest green mass obscuring the front door in the 2005 picture above.) The picture from the Christmas snowmageddon of 2009 only shows the bottom right quarter of the tree, but indicates how tall it had become in four years. I realized this volunteer non-flowering cherry had grown to about 25-30 feet over a few years. It had a double trunk, which weakens the tree as it grows, and was growing on a slope, so had developed a slight lean to one side. This was not a tree to let grow into ripe old age. It was time to chop it down.Unfortunately, I didn’t think to take any photos before, so imagine the left side as full as the right in the shot above taken early in the process (I’d already topped the left side and removed one of the split trunks) and you’ll have a good idea of how big the thing was getting. The picture does not do justice to the thickness of the trucks.
Another angle shows one of the hazards I had to contend with, as the top branches were tall enough to catch on the utility lines if they fell the wrong way (in descending order: power, phone and cable). I lopped the horizontal branches off first, then started cutting the four trucks down in roughly 5-8 foot sections.
I left this much trunk because I was running out of steam. I don’t have a chainsaw, and sawing through thick branches when you’re up a ladder takes it out of you. The kids and I are considering leaving it in the ground and carving a little totem pole.
Some of the pruned branches beside the other hazard I had to deal with: our mailbox. I just repaired the post after a city garbage truck snapped it, so I didn’t want to drop a 50 lb branch on it and have to fix it again.
I have a newfound respect for old-school lumberjacks now. Sawing logs isn’t so difficult down on the ground, but clambering around up in a tree and cutting branches by hand is a different matter.
We have one other junk cherry on the property, thankfully just a couple of years old, and half the size. I think it’s next for the chop, and then we’ll have to decide what to plant in their place. I’m leaning towards crepe myrtles, which are fast growing and tall, but never get big and heavy.