Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Forestry 101

I had a fellow who sells firewood over last weekend, to look at the trees around Wit's End. Since I know for sure they are going to fall over, and the only question is when, I'm trying to find someone who wants to fell them and cart them off before they land on the house, car or me. "Which ones do you want taken down?" he asked. I pointed to a large black walnut with tufts of foliage only at the tips of its branches. "But it still has leaves!" he exclaimed. Well, your Christmas tree may have needles but it sure is dead anyway!
One of the first things I learned about trees when I first noticed their leaves were wilted is that by the time their crowns are thin, needles are yellow or falling off, the tree is already dying. It is irreversible and unsalvageable. This pine fell over sometime between yesterday afternoon and this morning. It just keeled over, because its roots are rotted and there's nothing holding it up. Sooner or later all the trees will do the same, if we don't have a huge forest fire first.


  1. In Georgia, when a large living pine falls, the claim is that the draught weakened the roots so it just fell over from the weight of new growth. Some big ones in Atlanta have fallen and cut houses in two right to the ground. Winds not a factor, nor pine bark beetles.

    Common wisdom here is that, if a pine can fall on your structures, cut it down before it does, or at least when it shows any signs of weakness or disease.


  2. Sooner or later the guys responsible for the actuarial prognostications at Allstate and State Farm and Nationwide are going to figure out that insuring property with trees on it - or within a certain distance of an ocean or tidal estuary - is unprofitable. That should submarine about 70% of the real estate value in the US. Talk about yer splaaattt . . .


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