Sunday, October 20, 2013

Ridiculously Long Post About Trees

With fall officially here, we're looking to have the four large trees in the front trimmed. We had to wait until the first freeze (which happens nightly now at 20+ degrees) to assure the Emerald Ash Borer beetles that are invading our trees (to the tune of $150 injections) die first. If we trimmed the trees early, the sap would attract those little bugs and cause more issues.

We recently knocked the small maple we had in the front yard ourselves because it just adds to the amount of leaves, kills the grass, and makes our house feel more like we're in the middle of a forest...which would be cool if we actually were. It makes our yard look bigger without it, provides more natural light during the day-- which I must have in the winter, and is one less thing to maintain. It's just a bummer because we did love the tree itself... just not the location. It's the same tree where we planted Andrew's bulbs and we'll be replanting those this winter/spring. The only bad thing about axing that tree is that it's making the paint on our front doors bubble. That's for another blog post.

I called our regular tree trimmer to have him come out for a quote this week to discuss the four trees in the front yard. We're also looking to ax the gorgeous Honey Locust tree in the middle of our enormous deck this summer. Except, we are having a hard time parting with it. When it rains, lots of beautiful lichen show vibrantly. It provides shade during the summer that keeps the house {marginally} cooler. It's also lovely to look at instead of our neighbor's backyard and their questionable choice to put a blue tarp on the barbecue (get a cover!) and ugly plastic white chairs out that they never sit on. I'd rather look at this beautiful tree.

Except, there are issues. Three, specifically. The maintenance of trimming and cleaning the deck because it drops massive amounts of seed pods is less than fun. These pods are a favorite among squirrels and other rodents, which we don't mind seeing around, but don't want a commune of them either. With our fox den issue in the past, we are more concerned about the food sources our trees are providing. It's also rather expensive to have these trees trimmed on a regular basis and the gutters cleared multiple times a year.

Then there's the deck itself. The tree has grown over the 15 years the deck was in place and has popped up the boards of the deck, making it unsightly and unsafe. While it's unlikely the tree can grow much more than it already is at decent maturity, we don't want to deal with it ruining another deck when we replace the boards and re-frame this summer. I'm no tree expert.

And finally, the garden. The nonexistent garden, but one I hope we have in our backyard beginning this spring. We just don't get enough sunlight anywhere around our house because we do have so many lovely trees. If this tree is cut, we will get more natural sunlight in the house (hooray!) and leave a suitable area on the side of the deck for my garden boxes. Without the sunlight, I might as well forget about it. There are still hoards of trees in our yard and our neighbor's yard that provide decent shade still.

But cutting beautiful trees just seems so wrong. For people who love nature anyway. Instead, I randomly threw out an idea to leave the stump in the middle of the deck (killing the tree from further growth) and re-framing around it. I'd love to use the stump as a base for a DIY table in the middle of our deck and put a big, chunky vase on it that I'll add some rustic sticks and charm depending on the season. While the tree will no longer be there, the vase with nature-inspired fillers will serve as a separation from our neighbors. And the table will be useful in entertaining.

And look awesome. Something like this:

We love the stained and polished concrete top and would likely do one just the same. The husband has already watched and read countless tutorials. The cost of the above table according to its makers? $45. Chairs more, of course.

The current state of our deck now that you know the dream we're not even sure is plausible? Sort of, kind of The Giving Tree table, kwim?
Deck boards will be replaced/stained this summer. Can't wait!
The boards have been cut and fit like a jigsaw puzzle, but they were popping up feet in the air. Not bolted down. Unsafe.
Hello beautiful Honey Locust tree we want to turn into a table.
Left side of our deck (from inside of the house). Garden area will hopefully go behind the bench.
Right side of the deck with planters that will be taken in for the winter very soon. I kept those plants alive since June!
Anyone have experience with turning a tree into something more? We were getting excited about maybe even making end tables out of more pieces of the trunk, but realized our house already has plenty of tables.

*519 posts. Can you believe I have that much to say?


Brie said... [Reply to comment]

I like the idea. We axed a huge eucalyptus tree in our CA backyard a couple years ago because we had raccoon issues and thought they were nesting in there.. The stump removal was insane, so I think leaving the stump is a great idea and super love the stained concrete table top! Go for it!

LookItsJessica said... [Reply to comment]

I have to confess that my husband and I were total "never ever cut down a tree" people until I started reading your blog and realized that people actually cut down trees for aesthetics and maintenance (and of course, safety) reasons. Sometimes trees and shrubs have got to go! Good luck and I think the tree stump table idea is really cool and Pinterest-y!

Caroline said... [Reply to comment]

That table would be sweet! I'd like to visit next summer for that back yard cook out. You'll get a lot of good fire wood? Well, maybe not because the tree isn't dead. We've only had to cut down one (the one at out house in GA in Cale's garden and other than the lovely stool my neighbor made for us, we just got lots of fire wood).

Ben and Katie said... [Reply to comment]

Love the table idea!!! If we could have done that with taking our massive one out then we would.
I love trees but they can also be annoying! The one we took out was right against the back of our house. More negs then positives to getting rid of it! We did and and I don't miss it! More sunshine lake side! :)

Melva Ullman said... [Reply to comment]

Some people would save their trees as much as possible, and I can see that this is the case with you too. However, with the reasons for you to say goodbye to them arising, you really have to resort to cutting them down. Well, at least you're looking forward to creating a beautiful outdoor dining set in exchange for it. That's still a win-win situation for you.
Melva @ MPDT