Monday, 10 August 2015

Up, up and away

When we built our house in the early 1990s, we were adamant that we would do so without cutting down a single tree.  Even the small pine in front was accommodated by a diversion in the terrace wall. This tiny pine repaid us by growing tall and providing shade for the whole terrace. We accepted that it would fill the pool with needles, kill the roses growing underneath and provide a home for squirrels whose clicking and scurrying drive the dog to barking lunacy (usually at about 3am). In the last couple of years we've started to get uneasy about its height and the prospect of a branch landing on our newly retiled roof.  This year, on a trip to Scotland, I drove past a familiar house and was shocked to see its gable end missing; a pine had fallen on it in the winter. I returned home with a picture of the shattered house and realised that if our pine was felled by a storm, it wouldn't just be the roof that was damaged. 
So the decision was made. The pine would have to go. But how?  Google "tree surgeon" in this area and you won't get any useful results. A call was made to the Forestry Commission office and they paid a visit to give us permission to fell the tree but couldn't help with the act. Various "men with chainsaws" were consulted but they didn't inspire confidence.  We had so protected our pine that its base was now imbedded in the terrace wall and apart from a 20 degree margin, it didn't have anywhere to safely fall.  If only it could be lifted up and away....




And it was.  Take one experienced chain saw operator in a cherry picker and another professional in a crane and bit by bit the tree was cut from the top down and lifted free.  I'm telling you this as if I was there. I wasn't - thank goodness. It all happened last week end: My daughter, Esi, can take up the story 



" I don't usually go to work with my fiancé but as he was off to my family house I was happy to hitch a lift. Getting into the massive mobile winch was a struggle, but I heaved myself up and I was able to appreciate my other half's skill in manoeuvring the giant through the summer traffic. On the way, I started to feel a bit apprehensive. What if something went wrong and my fiancé dropped a tree through his prospective father-in-law's roof. 
As we turned into our very narrow lane the size of the crane became even more obvious. We struggled to avoid trees and had to inch through the garden gate. By this time Jake had caught scent of something unusual going on and came running down.  He took one look at the metal mountain approaching and shot back up the drive, tail between his legs and hid behind Dad, who on second glance, seemed to be standing at a funny angle. He'd put his back out clearing the lane for us.  Whoops, not a good  start. 
 Jake and I sat back and watched as the chainsaw operator was lifted up into the tree, he peered down at us through the branches like Tarzan. After the first few limbs (tree not chainsaw guy) were cut, the winch bands could be tied to the trunk and the pine was dismantled bit by bit.  Hearing the loud crack as the trunk was split was like witnessing a thunderstorm without the rain or clouds. The first few bits were small and light but once it got down to the base of the tree the winch started to shake and the front wheels began to lift above the ground.  
Soon the tree was gone, the only damage being the underlying plants, which were covered with pinecones and needles. The pictures above show the mechanics of the lift but cannot describe how unnerving it was watching something so big 
being held by just a band and swung from a winch 
so close to my childhood home" 


If anyone reading this has a difficult tree to remove, send me an email at backtobodrum@gmail.com and I'll send you details. 



16 comments:

  1. . . we had a similar issue with a huge tree, albeit with a little more scope for dropping. Our local guy cut off lower branches creating a sort-of ladder as he went. A rope was att to the top and the expert eye determined the centre point. The tree was 99% cut through and then pulled over like it was hinged. Then the last bit was cut and a push had the top half land with a gentle whoomph. The bottom, much heavier half was then dropped with another whoomph directly on top of the much branched upper half. The tree was then logged and the logs stacked, the debris was cleared away and it was time to pay. 'How much?' 'Have I done any damage?' 'No' '70 lira' 'Thank you very much' All that took 400 minutes!

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    1. We hoped to do something similar but realised that we didn't have the space. Now we have to get rid of the felled tree trunks

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  2. Wow, that is a BIG job isn't it. Great story, though. We live in communal gardens and our gardener planted a günlük tree in front of our house around 10 yeas ago. we told him not to because we know how big they can get and it's too close to the house...and here we are, 10 years down the line having a similar conversation as the branches are now very close to the bedroom window. Might just need that email address, and look out on our blog for a similar blog post to this in a couple of years or so... ;)

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    1. You might manage another 10 years before you have to call in the crane.

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  3. Amazing operation so well done - good job you were away BB, well done to Esi and the team, so wonderful you saved the tree. Cok sevgiler, Ozlem

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  4. Lovely to read Esi's account of 'Operation Pine tree' - she writes very well. Glad all went well - hope Teo's back and everyone's frayed nerves all soon recover! Kath x

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    1. Glad I wasn't there. Dave would have enjoyed it.

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  5. B to B, You know, after last winter's lodos storm and our battle with a very precarious pine tree this winter, I'm glad you gave a reference for advice. Now, can your daughter come too and supervise? . . .

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    1. Might take a while for the crane to get up to you.

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  6. Wow....sounds like quite the project! Glad all is going well now. :)

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  7. Blogger hiccuped, so not sure whether my previous comment got through.

    I read this with interest and sympathy, having had to have four very big trees felled in our French garden over the winter. we weren't there, but have seen pictures and our trees too were dismantled bit by bit from the top down and tidied away very efficiently, in this case by one tree surgeon working single-handedly! Please tell Esi how much I enjoyed her account. She writes very well.

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  8. Amazing! Its really amazing piece of writing, I have got much clear idea regarding from this paragraph.

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