Death of a Tree

Avatar fans out there may not want to read this post; it could be too painful…

Now that I have put out the disclaimer I can move on. When we bought 1508 we were both excited to inherit a couple of full grown trees in the yard. My favorite was an amazing deciduous (loses its leaves in the winter) tree in the back corner of our yard. After a few months of renovating the tree started coming back and we realized it was a fruit bearing tree…nectarine tree to be exact. We would check the fruit every couple days hoping the fruit had ripened so we could try it…That excitement faded into frustration when we came home one day to find that someone had picked the tree clean. Seriously! I was so pissed! Here is the backyard right after the robbery:

Outdoors Before

Instead of seething/ranting I decided it wasn’t the end of the world and I would just have to continue being patient and wait for the next season. In the meantime I would build a tall locking gate to keep the thieving fruit pickers out of my yard.

The next season finally came around…and the poor old tree didn’t come back. I couldn’t understand what had happened. Was the tree angry at me for not giving it enough attention…probably?

After months of waiting and debating about what we should do we decided it was time to deal with our pathetic old tree. It just so happened that the weekend we decided to do this my mom was visiting. Let me break by explaining that my mom is the total plant whisperer. She talks to her plants and swears they are happier/healthier for it. She probably has even named her plants. Who am I to throw stones, I can barely keep a succulent alive. With her over we decided that we would get to the bottom of the tree problem.

Her first suggestion was to cut a small branch from the tip of the tree to see if there was any life left in the out limbs. The first cut was as dry as firewood…

We slowly worked our way from the outer limbs to the larger inner limbs…every cut hoping for life. Every limb looked like this:

Dead Tree Limb

Andy kept on cutting…

Andy cutting Away

Searching for a hint of life…

The Carnage

Our yard was starting to look like a massacre had happened. At this point I run inside to take “aerial” photos (i.e. looking out the bedroom window)…brief stop at the washer and dryer to switch laundry over… I look out my window to see this.

Andy Vs. The Tree

WTF…first I was shocked that Andy had pulled down the tree, then I was mad he didn’t wait for my mad photo skills…hehe

Andy Won!

I ran back down stairs to assess the damage. Apparently, while I was switching over laundry Andy heard the tree make loud cracking sounds as he continued to cut limbs off. He noticed that the trunk at the base of the tree was fractured. He grabbed a rope, looped it around the remaining stump and was able to pull the entire tree down. I just thought he must have been overpowered by some inhuman strength because he was so motivated to get the tree out of our yard. (Like when someone gets a surge of adrenaline and picks a car off a child)… What really happened is that some alien creature growing within our beloved nectarine tree:

Cored out tree stump

Tree Stump

Seriously creepy right? This plant had eaten away the core of our tree and was growing within in. The only solution we could think of to rid ourselves of the red alien roots was having a bonfire:

Andy Relaxing Fireside

We took this opportunity to drink beers fireside and strategize how we were going to provide privacy in our now Very exposed backyard. As you can see there are masonry blocks lying around the yard. The loss of our dear tree gave us a kick start to start the new fire pit project. More posts to come about the fast progressing outdoor kitchen.

Have any of you ever ripped out a plant and found something crazy lurking beneath the surface?

P.S. for those interested in know what happened to our tree, we later found out that the neighbors nectarine tree died from subterranean termites that cored out the trunk of the tree. Our tree must have been slowly dying from the termites for years. Finally the termites won, abandoned their host and left a nutrient rich space for another plants root to grow within the cored our trunk. Not so alien after all – still creepy!

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One Response to Death of a Tree

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