Removing Trees From Our Backyard

It’s been a busy couple of weeks around here! Besides taking care of a newborn and a toddler, we’ve also been trying to finish as many projects as we can before Andy has to go back to work, and last week we had two trees removed from our backyard which was not a renovation project we had planned on.

One day last winter our dog Ruby put her feet up on the side fence in our backyard to peek at the neighbors … and it came crashing down! Luckily not on her. Of course it was one of those late winter days with pouring rain and just-barely-above-freezing temperatures, and Andy patched up the fence as best he could with cold, wet fingers. He discovered that the reason the fence fell down was because one of our trees had gotten so big it was literally pushing it over, which turned out to be a real big — and real expensive — problem.

See the tree pushing on the fence?!

We basically had three choices:

1. remove the fence completely — not an option because of Ruby, and our neighbors have two dogs.

2. move the fence onto our neighbor’s property. We briefly considered this but ultimately decided we were not comfortable with it. Even though our neighbors told us they were ok with the idea, Andy and I decided it would not be fair to them since the fence/tree is our responsibility (and we weren’t sure if they were actually ok with it or just being nice to our faces). Besides, since it would be a violation of building code, it could end up being a giant mess in the future if new neighbors ever move in who don’t want our fence on their property. We actually had that issue at our last house with our neighbor’s fence, and it was real, real annoying.

So that left option 3. remove the tree. We REALLY wish we didn’t have to, but it came down to the only option that made sense in the long run.

The big problem is this tree could not have been more complicated to remove. It was difficult to reach with a crane because of how close our houses are, it was surrounded by power lines, and it was just a really huge, really tall tree. Of course difficult means expensive. We actually had multiple tree-removal companies come out for estimates — and only ONE was willing to do the job! The rest never even returned our calls. (Not sure if this is true, but we were told by someone else that most companies don’t even carry enough insurance to do a job this big/complicated/dangerous.)

We decided to have a second tree removed while they were here because we had been told that the tree was sick. It was actually bending over our house and often dropped big branches in the backyard, which made us super nervous every time we were outside. Having both trees removed at the same time was less expensive than doing them separately at different times.

Removing the trees also meant taking down the hammock that was connected to both!

It completely broke our hearts to have to kill beautiful old trees, though of course we felt it was the best decision under the circumstances. (I’ll admit it: in my hormonal state, I was totally teary watching the trees come down!) However, we actually discovered that both trees were sick and dying and would have had to be cut down eventually anyway… or they could have fallen on our house, which is terrifying, especially since it’s always crazy windy this close to Lake Erie.

Watching the work was fascinating. Those guys work SO hard and it’s SUCH a dangerous job that I truly believe they are worth every penny they charge (and they charge A LOT). To see them swinging from the trees, several stories up, just hanging by a rope and with a chainsaw tied to their waist… yikes. It took three days to remove both trees and grind the stumps. We pretty much stayed indoors the whole time and peeked at them out the windows, and we boarded Ruby where she goes to daycare (Metrobark is the best!) so she could run around with friends instead of being trapped inside.

Now we’re left with a bit of a muddy mess where the trees used to be, but the nice thing is our backyard feels much bigger now. We’re brainstorming some new landscaping ideas, and next summer we plan on replacing the whole fence.

And as much as it was sad to see the trees go, we’re looking forward to fewer leaves to rake up this fall!

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