Trees fall down

One of our big oaks got some kind of borer beetle and had to come down.  Then two weeks later during a big storm, our last ornamental pear tree fell over (fortunately it did not take either our deck or our fence with it, though it did grab some of the wisteria off our fence on its way down).

So we paid $335.58 to get the oak taken down and the stump ground, along with trimming back our crepe myrtle so it would stop hitting our roof and grinding another stump from a tree the previous owners had removed (the stump had been bothering DH for lo these 12 years, who knew?).

Then a few weeks later we paid another ~$200 to get the pear tree taken out of our backyard and its remaining stump and roots ground.

Next month we’re planning on buying another oak to replace the beetled oak (apparently the beetles are only a problem when the trees are distressed, so that won’t be a problem with the new oak) and a cherry tree for the back.  DH also wants to buy a few more experimental fruit trees for the remaining places in our lawn.  (Every year he buys a few and one will take root and flourish even if it never fruits again and the other two will die.  I think he’s going to keep doing this until he runs out of spots.)  This year he’s gonna get a crabapple, which I love.  We’ll see if it survives and fruits.  Cost:  ~$300 all told, including mulch.  (It’s way more expensive if we get the tree company to do it, but DH has found a nursery he likes, and we’ve had better luck with keeping cheap younger trees alive than expensive older.)

*Activism Update*

Speaking of things on your lawn being removed… All of the democratic signs in my neighborhood for a specific race were stolen Saturday night.  If that happens to you, be sure to file a police report.  The police can’t do anything based on rumors.  They are more likely to investigate if they see a pattern.  And an entire HOA losing its signs is a pattern.  We went to Target and got materials to make our own sign.  Then we bought 30 signs at the Dem HQ when they opened and gave them to people whose signs had been stolen.  And a few for local candidates while we were at it.  Make some good come from evil.

This weekend we also did postcards from postcards to voters:

and letters from

And I’ve been hooked up with a post-card service that only sends stuff in my state.

Do you have trees?  Have you ever had problems with them?

35 Responses to “Trees fall down”

  1. becca Says:

    So first, YAY you for sending postcards!
    Secondly, I was thinking about how if I got a pretty postcard that *actually had the relevant early voting location/times* that would have been super helpful.
    I voted previously in states without early voting, so I had no idea how it worked. Our state has a website that lists locations, but the hours are given as 6am-6pm for every single location and that is… not how it actually works. Our local flyer that comes with our water bill listed the hours at our town hall, but that struck me as a non-obvious place to look for the information for someone new to the area.

    If it’s all a hodge podge where you are and you can’t include that info, or it would just take up too much space, I understand. But it occurred to me and I thought I’d mention it.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      The problem is that the times vary by locality AND they’re not posted online generally until after early voting has started. So even for the email we sent out to students, we know when voting hours are for Nov 6th but not for early voting. If a website said 6am to 6pm, that’s what I would assume it was, even if it was incorrect.

      So I’ve got no idea for where I live right now, much less places I’m sending postcards to. I have been including links to where to early vote on the card though– so long as I know what county the address is in, that’s pretty easy to find. (And for the email and flyers to students, we listed that info in the body and provided a link for where to vote on voting day since that depends on the person’s address.)

      • FF Says:

        I also want to thank you for what you’ve been doing for the election. It was reading the posts here that helped me figure out some ways for a confirmed introvert to get involved–first with the Swing Left research team and making calls and then with the candidate directly. I had a great time doing GOTV canvassing for Delgado (NY-19) on Saturday, which I was really not expecting. Everyone I spoke to was very enthusiastic about voting our horrible rep out and voting for our great candidate and the other Ds on the ballot. The latest poll released today is very close (44% R, 43%D). But even if the R wins, at least I’ll have done what I could to prevent that. I’ll be canvassing again this weekend, both days.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        YAY!!!! Thank you!!!

        My sister has said that GOTV canvassing in her area has been good because everybody is really grateful to get information on how early voting works.

        There are some things I wish I’d known to do– for example, there are some state-level candidates for which the dems have zero signs, so there’s no signs for the democrat candidate in the legal perimeter of voting areas. If I’d known, I could have purchased signs in bulk, or picked some up from the dem offices in a nearby city. There’s still time now, but I’m not sure how best to use our resources. Like spending $300 on 100 signs when the signs won’t get here for a week… is that a good use of time and money? I suppose I could call up the campaign offices in a nearby city to see what they suggest, but we can’t drive up anytime soon. But the retired dem lady on our street probably can…

        It’s hard to know what to do, and on top of that we still have to work!

        Thank you for canvassing!!

  2. Leah Says:

    I love trees. Growing up, we had one growing into our foundation that we had to take out. Otherwise, we’ve never had issues. Trees just have to be planted sufficiently far from the house.

    I really wish we could plant some trees. Our daughter really, really wants to, but I’m not sure about donating a tree to the school. It’s on the to do list for whenever we finally get a house. Maybe that day is getting close; we are both getting a little tired of living in the dorms. We’ve been saving our pennies, but the idea of buying still makes me anxious.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      You can get little trees for under $20. Sometimes they die, sometimes they flourish.

      • Leah Says:

        Hmm, good call. Maybe I should call up the local nature center and see if they could use some tree planting. I’d be happier donating to them. I’m not sure how my school feels about trees, and I think they’d want to pick the tree. Or maybe I should ask a friend with some land (like a farm friend — plenty of those). She’s just so jonesing to plant one.

  3. gasstationwithoutpumps Says:

    We have trees: two sycamores, a crab apple, a pear, an apple, a volunteer plum, and a laurel. The only one we planted was the laurel tree, and it is about the only useful one. It is Laurus nobilis, which we started in a small pot to get bay leaves for the kitchen. We repotted it several times, but finally planted it in the ground after it got too big for a half-whiskey-barrel pot.

    The crab apple is pretty for a week each spring, but otherwise a nuisance. The pear tree has rather useless Seckel pears (too sweet for cooking, and too squishy for packed lunches) and has acquired fireblight. The apple is red delicious (why would anyone in their right mind plant almost inedible apples when there are hundreds of good varieties available?) The sycamore trees have anthracnose, so drop leaves all summer and lose branches every time there is a moderate wind (I’m talking 20mph, not tornadoes or hurricanes). The plum grew from seeds from a neighbor’s tree (which has since been removed)—the raccoons got all the plums this year.

    I like trees, but I wish we could have picked rather than just leaving the previous owner’s bad choices in place.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Maybe you should put a sycamore out of its misery? Crabapples also attract pesty things who feed on the fruit (which isn’t that tasty to humans). Lemons are a great choice if your climate supports them; you can preserve the leftovers, turn a huge number of them into lemonade, give them to your friends, etc. And of course apple.

      I once house-sat a place that had a quince tree, which fruit is also somewhat inedible unless you cook it. The family who lived there loved quince bread and pancakes and stuff. Me, I fed the quince to their pet iguana instead.

      • gasstationwithoutpumps Says:

        Thirty years ago, we have have been able to remove the sycamores—now they are large enough to qualify for the heritage-tree ordinance, and we would need to get a permit to remove them (or even to prune more than 25% in 3 years). Given that the trees are not endangering the house or anyone’s safety, a permit is unlikely to be granted.

        If we did somehow get the sycamores removed, I’d probably plant something with nice fall colors—perhaps (male) gingkos.

        Meyer lemons do grow well around here—I had one in a tub for a couple of years, but it died. If it had survived, I would have transplanted it into the garden as a permanent tree. We don’t use many lemons in a year, and a Meyer lemon tree provides enough for 20 households.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        #1 notes: I love crabapples. We’re gonna put one in.

  4. nicoleandmaggie Says:

  5. Jenny F. Scientist Says:

    Fruit trees/gardening are my hobby! I’ve only killed one: a very small Fuyu persimmon. We have three apples (one is an edible crabapple), a pear, and some Nanking cherries. (Also a bunch of vines/shrubs that bear fruit). Mine are all disease-resistant varieties that do well in the South.

  6. nicoleandmaggie Says:

  7. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    Am I the only person who thinks persmimmons taste so gross and bitter?

  8. bogart Says:

    We. have. so. many. trees. Basically, we live in a neighborhood where some combination of not clear-cutting (to build it, over 4 decades ago) and not otherwise maintaining/reducing/eliminating (on our part and that of many, though not all, of our neighbors) means we pretty much live in a forest. Though not an old-growth forest, mostly (huge) pines and some (ditto) sweetgums and poplars, and other smaller trees (maples, elms, beech. We have one decent-sized oak toward the front yard). I would like to get some taken out, but getting huge trees taken out is expensive (none can just be dropped due to general safety concerns, the house, and a power line).

    We have planted one fig tree (which survived but is not yet a prolific producer), two apple trees (both of which died), and nothing else. We also enjoy a fig tree that belongs to a neighbor but seems to be harvested only by walkers-by (including us), not its owner, and a stand of fuyu persimmons that sit on an old fallow property within walking distance if one is feeling ambitious.

  9. chacha1 Says:

    I have not yet planted trees in the actual earth. The actual earth surrounding our little rental house is so compacted and degraded it is nearly impenetrable. When I have sufficient time, energy, and motivation, I will be planting more things, but probably mostly in raised beds because I’m not kidding about this dirt. Digging more than a foot down is a heart- and back-breaking task.

    So far the biggest things I have planted are a dwarf bottlebrush and a Ceanothus (California ‘lilac’ which should get to 6-8 feet if we live here long enough) and a pair of manzanitas (which should top out around 8-10 feet in due time).

    I have a compact strawberry bush (Arbutus, which is a type of tree) in a container for now, soon to go into an open-bottomed raised planter, from thence to penetrate (I hope) the earth. Also a dwarf date palm which I want to give the same treatment.

    I have two braided ficus trees in giant stock tanks because I cannot let their feet touch the earth or they will surely uproot our house’s foundation.

    My plant choices are mandated by the amount of time I have to do garden maintenance (minimal), the size of our lot (small) and the size of the house (small). I have prioritized pollinator-attractors.

  10. C Says:

    We have a giant massive Norway Maple, definitely many decades old, in the front yard. And we’re getting it trimmed. Most places we called for estimates said 700-900 dollars… for ONE tree. I mean, yes it’s really tall and huge and the previous owner doesn’t appear to have done much care for it but… that’s a lot for one tree. Thankfully one of the municipality-recommended arborists quoted us less than that for a trim, so there we go.

  11. First Gen American Says:

    I love your DH’s approach to Darwin gardening. The strongest will survive and thrive. It’s amazing what plants did really well in my last garden but didn’t survive the move to the next town over.

    Ditto on the low low tree prices. We live in New England and I have spent over $10,000 taking down trees between the two places we’ve lived. I have never gotten a quote for under $500 to take down a tree and that doesn’t include stump removal. Also it costs $275 a day to rent a stump grinder…but we have very little immigrant labor here so most landscapers charge $50/hr here.

    We have so many and trees they are awesome but big white pines should not be planted 2ft from the house. They canopied both our houses and damaged the roof with rot and mold. Sun on a house to dry it out is a good thing. Both times, we took down the trees before re-roofing so the new roof had a chance to last longer.

    We have planted many fruit trees since we moved to the new house. Apples, pears, cherries, peaches, chestnuts…although I am learning the wild plums in our forest carry a black fungus that is wreaking havoc on all our stone fruit trees, so not sure what to do there. My husband likes them as they are all knarly and cool looking but I’d rather chop them out so we can have healthier fruit trees. And I also don’t know if the neighbors have them too and how far the fungus travels….so no yard is ever perfect. I also don’t have many conifers for winter cover so I bought a bunch of little seedlings (like 30) on Arbor and in year 3 they are now big enough to be moved out of their nursery beds to their forever spots.

    We bought a cider press as we did have some ancient neglected fruit trees on the property too that we are trying to rehab. We have cider making parties. Our driveway is lined with maples we tap in the spring to make maple syrup. It’s all very New Englandy in our old white farmhouse. I literally live in a Norman Rockwell painting. (He used to live here and the museum is 10 minutes from my house.)

  12. Debbie M Says:

    What is involved in stump grinding?

    My tree stories are long and mostly depressing, so I’ll just stop there.

  13. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    I would happily take a: lemon tree, avocado tree, apple tree depending on variety.

    We have: a plum tree. None of us like plums. It’s actually just a sapling and planted in the second dumbest possible place in my opinion – practically under the fence, in a narrow passageway. The previous owner picked really stupid places to place trees. We had to remove one that was planted an inch away from the side of the house so the roots were going under it.

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