Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Crotch Problems

Yes Pure Florida veterans, I am at it again. This laurel oak was allowed to stay years ago when the garden was new and the tree was small. As time passed the oaks roots sucked nutrients from the nearby garden and the tree grew rapidly ... and weakly.

Now, it shades the garden and my blueberries (picked the first ones yesterday!) and it needs to come down. It has a sister at the north end of the garden that also has overstayed her welcome.

The tree has a nasty V-Crotch in it that is already showing signs of decay at the notch and this tree was bound to get topped by a tropical storm or 'cane in some summer. I have a small barn nearby and that makes me nervous as it is within reach of the upper portion, should it fall.

Those are my reasons, tree huggers, for killing this tree. I have a list of about 10 trees near house and garden that must at least be pruned, and a few will go completely. Most of those are going to get away with some pruning to deshade the tiny dooryard and reduce hurricane damage potential.

One bold tree is rubbing it's branches across the fireplace chimney ... smart ash! I'll show him.

To do this job, I pulled out my very long ladder. This thing is a wonder of modern ladder science. It just reaches from the ground to the nearest cumulus cloud if you fully extend it. I love it.

I extended the ladder up to the first set of tree size branches, climbed up and ratchet strapped the ladder to the tree trunk. This eliminates the possibility of the ladder sliding and taking me with it, or the ladder sliding and leaving me stranded in the tree top.

After the ladder was strapped, I climbed up into the branches (my favorite part!) and sat for a while surveying my kingdom and deciding which limbs to take off first.

I needed to delimb an area to avoid damage to my barn since I will be dropping this oak within a few feet of the barn complex. This 'barn" is really a 12' X 16' shed, but it's the only "barn" I have and I am fond of it.

Once my limb attack plan was finalized, I used that little red pruning saw to take off limbs one at a time. I'm leaving handy limb portions for grabbing and perching as I work in the canopy. If you were just pruning this oak, you would never leave chunks of limb like this to rot and weaken the tree.
Generally, I encourage trees at Pure Florida, but I do need some open areas for gardening and a wee bit of a traditional yard around the house. You can see some of the shade situation in the picture above ... as well as my messy redneck barn area and required dead truck.
This oak will provide way more firewood than we can possibly use in a Florida winter along with lots of BBQ chunks for the grill/smoker. I will probably take it down this weekend as I've pruned all I can safely prune. If you need some free firewood, bring your pickup ... and your chainsaw.
I'll post the results so you can see I did not drop it on the barn.
Stop it!
I can hear you taking bets.
Have a little faith.
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LauraHinNJ said...

Looks very dangerous, whatever the story is. Will check back in the am.

Floridacracker said...

Oops! You beat the print!
I am very careful, so it's not so bad really.
We don't have cliffs or mountains to climb here.

Mark said...

Falling out of a tree would not be a good way to start your day. Or end it. I found that when I climbed a large oak in our yard to trim it for felling, my grip became much stronger.

Rurality said...

Eek. I find it difficult to look at the pics. I keep thinking it's a good thing there's so much sand around there... maybe it won't hurt so much when you fall!

Are you sure there was nobody with a high-wire act in your genealogy? :)

Hurricane Teen said...

ugh, here comes the extension ladder/ropes/almost-suicide tree-cutting/house-repairing thing again. Don't go and kill yourself. That's all I have to say about this.

Nice truck, by the way.

Deb said...

Ladders like that scare me. Last weekend The Hermit had to climb up to the peak of the roof of the new house to nail a tarp back in place. I could hardly watch, but I had to be there...which is kind of stupid, what would I do, watch as he fell to the ground? Luckily, he didn't.

Floridacracker said...

It's amazing how the pucker factor translates into a tighter grip.

No, they all think I'm crazy too.

That truck, a 1982 GMC S-15 is the first auto I bought all on my own.
It ran wonderfully for years,but needs some TLC now. It needs to be the project truck of someone with actual mechanical aptitude, but I can't let go yet.

SophieMae said...

Oooooo... there goes my acrophobia.

HEY! It just started raining! Finally, the thunder and lightning deliver! Windy and pouring... almost like a TS out there. And HAIL! I won't complain as long as it doesn't damage my truck. So far, tiny stones, but LOTS of them!

Cathy said...

I'll read the rest of the post after I compose myself. "Crotch Problems'? :0D

OK. Finished it. You're doing that by hand? Whoa. I mean . . . wow. Your blisters must have blisters.

Floridacracker said...

Hooray for you! Windy as it can be here today, but sunny with no rain in sight. Got an outdoor wedding in Steinahatchee Saturday, so that almost guarantees some rain in the area.

Good gloves = no blisters.
I'll use a chainsaw for the felling, but I don't enjoy climbing with them!
That little Corona brand pruner is amazing.

kathy a said...

everyone else did the height worrying for me! so i can only congratulate you on not taking the chainsaw up there, because that would give me bad dreams.

Paintsmh said...

My brain is calculating how many lovely hot showers could come out of that wood. And is very very envious! lol

Floridacracker said...

Kathy A,
No chainsaws at altitude.

I'm calculating how many BBQ ribs ...