Blog Header

Blog Header

Monday, 25 November 2013

Tree surgery

The tree man has been and gone and we have finally cleared up and all the cut wood has been collected and stacked. I was rather disappointed at missing him cutting down nearly all the trees as I'd had to go out that first morning - this guy works so fast! I did however get to watch him dealing with the damaged weeping willow which was the most exciting to watch.

It was rather exhausting for us as we'd agreed with him that we would drag all the branches dotted about the garden/woodland up to his chipping machine - orginally he had quoted for hire of a tractor to haul it around the woodland to where the trees had been felled, but this was really not practical, let alone the fact a tractor would completely trash the lawn. Only you don't really realise quite how many branches there are, even off the tall and spindly trees that were being felled, until you start to clear them up.

Sadly but with good timing, one of our apple trees decided to uproot and fall over during windy weather whilst he was here, so again we made use of his chipper and hauled all the branches over the road from the orchard and up our steep sloping drive. That was killing! One good thing was that we had a 3 day break before he came back to finish off the work.... oh to be young and fit! He also cut our huge Leylandii hedges, a job that my OH used to do but eventually gave up as some parts are about 3 metres high and really deep, and unless you do this kind of thing for a living and/or are built like Arnold Schwarzenegger used to be, it's rather too much!

Most of my photos are pretty naff as I had little time and only took snaps with my compact camera. I was also in a hurry as I wanted to keep some of the chippings and was lucky that he had some really nice ash chips in his truck from a previous job which were not full of leaves. So I gained muscles shovelling them out of his truck and I've spread them all over my veg patch paths hiding all the mud and weeds, so for the moment it looks rather smart!

Except the darn peach tree and currants are now dropping leaves over my smart paths!

These machines cost a fortune but they are amazing to watch and so quick and efficient
and all the chippings just shoot into the back of the truck.
That pile of branches is a fraction of what we dragged around the garden.

We also had two sycamores taken out of the chicken run - this one in particular that was right up by the shed was getting far too big and all the rain water that is collected off the roof into a 500 litre water butt was always tainted by something from the tree (aphids?) and the water was brown and stinking.

Bye bye sycamore.

The poor old Granny Smith apple that is no more. I collected even more
apples from it as my OH cut off all the branches!

Oak - seems a shame but these trees were so overcrowded
and all growing into each other and other trees which
I wanted to preserve and allow them space to grow,
not to mention allowing more light in.

The following are the pictures I took of him working up in the weeping willow. It's hard to take pics when the sky is grey and not end up with silhouettes. In this picture it's hard to see but the broken branch is to the right of his head just balancing on another branch (which also had to be pruned because that had a lot of damage too), and the branch it had split from, to the left of his head, had such a long rip he had to cut that off too. So it now looks a bit bare and odd shaped and I just hope it will regenerate. I have seen weeping willows after radical pruning grow new branches so fingers crossed!

I was glad to see he'd tied himself to the tree
but I think a fair amount of balance was needed as well.

Eeeks! That branch was wobbling too!

The mess!

Afterwards - nice clean cuts but with a rather bare bit which of course is the
bit that used to hang out over the pond.

And here is just some of the wood stacked - one and a half stacks behind Hallie of wood that doesn't need splitting, and a fraction of the big logs (lichen covered) to the right that do need splitting. There's tons more piles of wood dotted about the place waiting until my OH's back recovers enough to get the hydraulic log splitter out. But no rush as this wood needs to dry out for several years. So we gained about €200 worth of firewood, mixed oak, sycamore, elm and willow out of what we spent having this work done.

Hallie wanted to be in the picture.

Now we await next summer to see just how more light is let into the woodland area which had become very dark; I can already see more light and openness in the beach area next to the pond which had become too overgrown with trees.

A conifer stump that the same guy cut down about 3 years ago
with Turkey Tail fungus growing on top of the stump and
unknown fungus around the outside.

Here's a link to the tree guy's website and I'd recommend him to anyone needing any of the services he offers, as he's quick, efficient, cleans up after himself and is very professional and good at what he does. And his prices are very reasonable! He is based near Fougeres.


  1. Paths are looking good. Is that Honey Fungus by the way?
    (Tried posting this before but it seemed to be eaten up by the ether......... :/ )

    A Nonny Mouse

    1. Yo Nonny! ;-) No I don't think it's honey fungus, least I hope not. It didn't last very long before it disappeared and this tree is already dead (haha), although there are lots more trees nearby. We did have honey fungus at the base of an elm near our cellier which fell over one year, roots half rotted through. That's why I don't plant anything there. Sorry you had a problem posting, I got that on Sandra's blog and it's really frustrating when you lose all your text.

  2. Nice set of pics Mandy. The guy up the tree reminds me I should go up ours and trim it. But I need to borrow his dinky chainsaw. Mine weighs a tonne (European tone to that weight - did you notice?) and I can't hold it one handed to cut anything.

    You have got nice fungi and they're not in the grass. I expect to see more shots of those - they look gorgeous.

    Like your woodshed - nice and big too.

    1. Chainsaws scare me senseless - OH has one but doesn't use it up anything, only on the ground for cutting branches/logs, thankfully in a sensible way. That's why we are pretty hopeless at doing much tree surgery ourselves other than taking off lower branches that are overcrowded or growing into other trees. A saw up a stepladder or on a long pole is about our limit. Well, his really. I just stand and give directions. :-)

      I think the tree man had more than one chainsaw but I guess doing the balancing act and one handed this was the right one to use!

      The woodshed is great - only it's in the middle of the woodland. Big drawback, which is why we also have firewood in the barn and the duck shed, which are closer to the house.

      Re. the fungus, I did post some more interesting ones that I found in England, on the previous posts in Berkshire. The honey coloured one has gone but the turkey tail is there all year round. I have taken some other shots of it but they are boring. I will try again. :-P

  3. Oh my gosh what a chore!! I love to see all the goings on here! Thanks Mandy for sharing with us all! I just love your place :)

    1. lol thank you Miss Lady Bug! Somehow although it was a chore it was good to get fresh air and exercise at a miserable time of year! But I certainly don't want to be doing this every week. I am doing gentle tidying up of my messy flower beds now, more my kind of thing. :-)

  4. Great post showing how much was done and your beautiful property. Of course the more garden you have, the more work is involved. I understand completely about being exhausted after all that heavy work; takes me a while to recover that's for sure!
    Loved the fungi shot and the oak with all the lichen too. It looked artistically arranged but no doubt it was more the composition of the pile that did the trick. Nice!

    1. Thanks Kim! It was good to get out and get exercise as it's all too easy to want to stay inside and veg in this kind of gloomy weather. The oak picture is just exactly as it fell and he'd chopped up into stackable log size - but I used my dslr for that shot, the compact for all the rest! Thanks for looking and I will check your latest blog post soon as I see you have updated. :-)

  5. What a neat wood store Mandy, it must have taken ages to stack it like that.


    1. I can't believe I just typed a reply and the damn thing disappeared. I was saying that you had better ask Keith! I fill the wheelbarrows and wheel them part of the way, he does the stacking and returns the empty barrow and so we manage it between us like that. But it's a long way from where the wood is dumped. That's the bought wood though. All this lot he did himself and how his back is suffering!

  6. Wow! That was a huge willow tree!!
    Nice garden and wood supply...

    1. Was.... haha! No, it still is, just missing a big chunk of it. Thanks very much honey bunch :-) Bet it's 70F+ there and you don't have to think about heating..... :-) My OH was sweating this afternoon though trying to split some of that willow - some is too big to be split by the hydraulic log splitter!

  7. I read your blog frequently and I just thought I’d say keep up the amazing work! New Forest Tree Surgeons