A very sad thing happened at our house this week.
We used to have this pretty white oak tree in front yard.
Isn’t she a beauty? Well, she is if you don’t look at all the dead limbs up at the top and since you can’t see them in this picture let’s agree that she’s a beauty, shall we?
We (mostly) loved this tree. It was more than 70-years old and was one of several old white and red oaks on our street. The wide-spread limbs shaded our whole house.
However, there were things we didn’t love – like the pollen and oak tree garbage it spits out everywhere for a month each spring. And the fact that our front yard was a wasteland except for that tree since it blocked out the sun and soaked up all the rain. Oh – and I’m crazy allergic to oak trees. Also it was planted directly in front of our door and sort-of obstructed the view of our house without giving us any privacy in exchange. But, you know, other than all that we loved it.
Anyway, it was dying. We were worried when we bought the house because the heaviest branches float out over our roof. We moved in during the fall so it was hard to tell how healthy it was since the foliage was still in place, but last spring we became concerned. As the leaves started popping out, we noticed that there were some branches that didn’t seem to be budding. As the month went on and nothing appeared, we were pretty sure we had some big, old dead wood.
But, what with all of our renovations, we didn’t really spend too much time thinking about it. When we had a hurricane at the beginning of the reno project we actually thought it would be pretty well timed if the tree fell on the house. We figured we could get part of our roof paid for by insurance. However, once the renovation was done we started thinking about it again. We LOVE our newly expanded second floor. We did not want to tree to come crashing in on us. Especially since our little nursery room would take the brunt of it.
So when the leaves started popping this year, we called in some experts. Three of them. And every company agreed: our tree was dying. And pretty quickly.
So we hired one of those experts on a Saturday and by Tuesday night the tree was gone.
I was extremely worried about any wildlife calling the tree home, but the arborist told me that squirrels and chipmunks would leave on their own and that birds’ nests would be relocated by hand.
So … it’s gone. Its removal totally changed our house and not entirely for the better. We’re happy we still have lots of big, old trees … but this one was the biggest. I suspect that over time the sun coming into the yard will mean nicer grass (or any grass!) and happier flowers, but for now it looks stark and empty and reminds me, again, that something is missing.
My good friend Genie, The Inadvertent Gardener, wrote a beautiful post once about her magnolia tree. Well, a post sort-of about her magnolia tree. The actual words described accepting that a beloved magnolia tree was not going to bloom one year. In actuality, the post was about accepting that another part her life wasn’t going to blossom into the lovely thing she once imagined. Thankfully, the magnolia tree blossomed the next year, and so did Genie. That season was a period of rest for The Inadvertent Gardener and for her tree.
Everything worked out beautifully for Genie and I’m hoping for a similar outcome. Our tree had to go, but maybe it was to make room for something even more precious.