They came! They sawed! They cutdown! The Organic Tree Care crew came today!!!! Like the commercials I hear for having junk hauled away: I pointed, they cut. The dead branches are gone gone gone! Let the winter winds blow! I fear no hurricanes for the dead branches are not with me. Clear skies above my deck and no easy critter access to my attic! Can you tell I’m just a wee bit excited? I bet now we will have the calmest hurricane season on record, and the least snow and ice during the winter. No branches will fall anywhere in town, thanks to my preventative measures. You’re welcome 🙂
When we last checked in with our heroine (that would be me) she was frustrated by not hearing back from her justifiably busy and preoccupied new neighbor and disgusted with the need for a permit to cut down her own tree and she had settled on an end run: remove the tree dead branch by dead branch. The tree man came and gave a revised estimate over the weekend. It turned out to be less than the prior estimate although I’d been expecting more. I’d asked to have more branches cleared than just the ones on the dying tree. Thinking about it I expect it’s much more work to take down an entire bifurcated tree than to just do pruning, and the new quote reflected that. That was the second joy (the first of course being that I needed no permission for this end run). Paul (the tree man) promised to get it done in the coming week.
On Tuesday I came home and found a voice mail from my new neighbor – Mari Sue (NOT Mary Lou *grin*). She apologized for taking so long to get back, she was in agreement about the tree and we should get together and talk. It was late and I didn’t respond that night. The next day Paul called and said they’d come on Thursday to shear my shrubbery. That reminded me to return Mari Sue’s call. I told her that I was making her life easier – she didn’t need to do anything, decide anything, the tree was mine and I was going to have every dead branch removed the next day. She said that was wonderful, she and her landscaper had looked at the tree and agreed that it should/could come down. I said that come the spring we could revisit the situation, but that for the time being I was taking care of the obvious problems and leaving us some privacy thanks to the branches that were still alive. We ended the call happily agreeing to meet for coffee soon.
Thursday the 3 men showed up. First we played musical cars. I’d left my cars in the street but they needed more room than just my driveway. So I moved my cars further down the block and they backed their trucks up to my property. Then they unloaded The Lift. This machine is SO COOL. It’s like a robot. The arborist controlled it with a remote control box he held in his hands. I looked at it at the end of my driveway and couldn’t quite envision what it would do. It looked huge.
While all the maneuvering was going on my next-door neighbor Larry came out. He was naturally curious as to what was happening, especially as one of the feet of The Lift was now resting on his property. Larry is a totally laid-back person. We have a fine relationship and always grant each other’s contractors whatever access is needed across property lines. I knew he wouldn’t care if I was trimming his tree. Indeed, he didn’t care and was horrified to see the cantilevered branch which of course had come from his tree. He offered to help pay for the work. I thanked him and said that all I needed from him was what I already had – his permission to let the workmen cross the property line as needed and that he was totally comfortable with me trimming his tree. Legally once a tree or its parts cross a property line, the property owner can remove whatever is on/overhanging the property. I told him that he owed me nothing, he was not legally responsible, and that I never expected him (or Mari Sue) to contribute to this effort. It’s good to have neighbors with whom you get along. Let’s not mention Mari Sue’s predecessors.
We had 3 areas that needed work and I didn’t see how that machine would get there unless it had a long neck like a giraffe and could stretch all the way to the back property line. I’d asked to have the maple tree along the driveway (Larry’s tree) trimmed back from the house. Several branches were brushing the roof and others were against the side. In addition that tree was the source of the cantilevered branch on my garage. I wanted that and its siblings, which were lurking over the garage, removed. The third area was the impetus for all this work – the dead tree trunk between the 2 garages.
I’ve mentioned before about the power and phone lines being above ground. There is a thick power line stretching from the southern corner of my property across the driveway to the house. I watched the men start lifting the cage up and up and wondered how they were going to miss the wire. The neck of the lift moves from side to side, up and down. It was completely fascinating to watch. I was riveted. (SEE – I TOLD you I already practice some of the 7 habits of mindful people!!) I watched as they moved that neck slowly side to side. They got it to the far side of the wire and began going up. The neck actually brushed against the wire, and a bulging piece of the neck actually held the wire momentarily. But it all moved so slowly and they slid it just a bit more to the side and the wire was free and the cage was going up and then extending forward to do the tree along the driveway.
They began trimming those branches and I went inside. I was nominally working from home. 🙂 Soon I felt this NEED to go see what they were doing. I’m glad I did. There was a slight misunderstanding of what I wanted and I walked out there just in time. The request was to trim back the branches from the house, but had been received as remove the branches over the driveway. I said that I was quite happy with what they’d removed so far – the house was clear – but they could leave the higher branches. Those provide a lot of shade and relief in the summer. I didn’t want them gone, just trimmed back.
Next came my cantilevered branch on the garage roof. To do that they had to move the lift further down the driveway. Watching him place the legs one at a time and adjust the placement of the feet was extremely interesting. I couldn’t believe how much smaller the lift now looked down the driveway. It was tucked in between the house, the tree and the garage. It fit and it worked. An amazing machine. The balancing branch was easy-peasy to remove: he grabbed hold of it and handed it down. Had there not been any other tree work needed, that is exactly what I’d have done. I’d have gone up on my step ladder and nudged it to slide further to the ground. Which is probably why it was a good idea to let the professionals handle it. *grin* I jumped up and down and cheered when they removed that branch. I’m not sure if they were amused or thought I was a crazy lady but they smiled back.
Next he began cutting the overhanging branches. One of the men got to do all the fun stuff – moving the cage, cutting the branches. The other two had to retrieve and drag the branches down the driveway to the truck. There was a lot of ground-cage communication. They also did a lot of checking and verification with me. By this time I’d dropped any pretense that I was working and was out there watching, taking pictures, cheering, and pointing. 🙂 What a GREAT morning! They cleared all of the overhanging branches and even removed some small dead ones that had already fallen and were snagged in the ivy.
FINALLY it was time to get to the dead tree. Only half the tree was dead but the other half is not all that healthy. I definitely wanted to be watching during this part because I wanted them to keep whatever could be maintained. That tree provides a great deal of privacy between our deck (especially the hot tub) and the upper floors of Mari Sue’s house. Since I’d been keeping my deck umbrellas closed all season because of fear of falling branches, I’d noticed exactly how little privacy we will have if that tree goes away completely. In the summer the deck umbrellas will provide privacy now that I can open them. In the winter it’s usually dark when we are in the tub so the lack of leaves is not as big a problem.
It really took him very little time to take down the dead trunk. The lower thicker branches had to come off in several pieces, but that top part came down in one piece. *laughing* In hindsight I realize that it looked a lot like a denuded Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree. 🙂
And then it was gone. Gone Gone Gone. It was wonderful. I looked up and saw blue sky, unimpeded by dead spindly branches. The garage was clear of branches. I walked about, checking the property, making sure that everything I wanted gone was gone.
I noticed a dead branch hanging down behind my garage, caught on the telephone lines running down the property lines. I really couldn’t tell over whose property the branch was hanging, but I figured none of us needed a big dead branch hanging on the wires. Yes, PSEG and AT&T (or maybe Verizon – who knows these days, right?) are supposed to keep those wires clear but is has been YEARS since I’ve seen them come around checking, much less coming to warn me they’d be doing work back there. That is why we keep a generator and a Hogwart’s Owl standing by on the ready. 🙂
Sure enough the arborist freed that branch. Then he cut down some dead branches overhanging Larry’s property. *smile* It was the least we could do since he’d been dropping all of the dead branches onto Larry’s back yard. I told them they could drop them on my yard but they said Larry’s was better. His back yard is all ivy in that corner. My yard consists of stepping stones and plants. The men explained that the ivy was a much better cushion for the branches and would decrease any splintering and breakage. They cleaned both yards once all the branches were down.
It’s done. I feel so GOOD! I can stop worrying about dead branches smashing into my deck and/or house and find something else to worry about. *grin* The crew was great. I can definitely recommend Mickiewicz Arbor Experts, LLC in Jackson, NJ. They were on time, they were pleasant, helpful, polite, patient, professional and left both properties clean and clear. Let it blow, let it snow, let it froze!