Monday, 19 September 2011

Delicate surgery

After the less than perfect conditions over the weekend, thank goodness we had a dry Monday for Mike Graham and the boys from Arbor-Tec.

I'm not sure which gave me more pleasure - seeing the care with which they approached the task of pruning some of the Silver Birch to safeguard them against further wind damage and improve their health, or seeing the six remaining huge Leylandii stumps winched onto a trailer and out of my life (and garden!) forever.

There are many people around who call themselves "tree surgeons" but from what we've seen in a lot of gardens most of them are not much more than butchers with chainsaws. Mike, Nona and Rob are in a class of their own and nothing was too much trouble for them.

Including moving their wonderful shredding machine into the Coppice and covering the whole area with bark chips to enable us to get onto the soil without making it look like a set from Saving Private Ryan. Mike also brought us a load of bark which LP bagged up in record time, it will be spread around at a later date.

Upon close inspection it was found that the Silver Birch with the squirrel box was badly rotted and the main trunk likely to fall in a year or two. The tree was left with a few odd branches in situ but we've subsequently decided to take the rest of it down ourselves; it will never recover to a good shape and it's not like we are short of Silver Birch.

Although you're not meant to move a nest box we don't feel there was any choice and Mike carefully relocated it to a big tree in the Coppice which the squirrels are often seen in. This was a great opportunity to look inside the box and to everyone's surprise we found it half full of dry, clean, beautifully sweet smelling hay. The consensus was that the box is probably being used as a daytime drey, this certainly wasn't anything anyone had ever seen a bird build. It's new position is higher off the ground, very secure, and clearly visible from the house. Fingers crossed .....

The recent winds proved nearly too much for a badly mishapen cherry tree hiding in the shrubbery. The weight of a huge branch growing out almost horizontally had started to split the main trunk and whilst the original plan had been to see if the tree could be salvaged it was in such a state that felling made more sense. It is always sad to have to cut a mature tree down but it was in a lousy shape, too near the house, and we can always plant a replacement in a more appropriate location.

The same decision had been made about a Silver Birch near the log store. I think LP rather enjoyed getting on the end of a rope because Rob was somewhere down the A66 with a trailer load of tree stumps. Fascinating and very impressive to watch these big trees being brought down bit by bit,with each branch taking a zip-wire ride to the ground.

A long day but an extremely satisfying one, and another few logs for the fire.


  1. Cripes! I was going to say that after the pond excavation you've not rested with tackling your trees, but looking at the date of 19 September and realising that's two weeks ago I dread to think how much you've done since and haven't yet told us about!

    I hope winter is long and hard — perhaps that will force you to have a break and take it a bit easier {g}

  2. Morning kiddo, thanks for the comment. Yes, blog-lag is a but excessive right now, but I'm trying to get caught up.

    I absolutely DO NOT want a long and hard winter - do you really want half my new planting to die of cold and dehydration before it's had a chance to get well established?

  3. Of course I don't want your planting to suffer — but I also don't want you keeling over either!

  4. Don't worry, little Elf-friend, they make 'em tough in the Shire!


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