Monday, September 10, 2012

Can This Tree Be Saved? Yes!

One of the benefits of living in an old (and I mean old) neighborhood is the mature trees.  When we bought our house eighteen years ago, one of the reasons was the settled feel of the neighborhood with its huge trees and established (and sometimes shabby) shrubs and landscaping.  Sadly, since we've lived here, three immediate neighbors have lost large trees.  Two to storms and one to a garage addition.  We have two large trees in our front yard -- a pin oak and a hackberry.  The hackberry, while not a particularly gorgeous tree, shades the front of our house in summer and provides a visual anchor for our yard.

Quite a few years back, our hackberry lost a large limb that grew toward the house.  The limb was as big around as many good sized tree trunks.  It did a little damage to the gutter around the porch, but nothing serious.  It was a bad loss, but we knew the tree could survive.  My husband was pretty militant about it in fact.  The tree must be saved. Then in 2008, another gigantic limb came off, pulling much of the bark from the side of the tree.  I figured the tree was a goner.  How could it survive with large chunks missing on two sides?

The man from the tree service came, cleared the limb, and cleaned up the wound.  He said we didn't need to take the whole tree down right away.  I think he was afraid my husband would start weeping openly if he said the tree had to go. We decided to leave the tree and see what happened.  What happened?  A little regrowth around the wound and ants. Periodically my husband would drag me out there and say, "See? It's regrowing."  Yeah, okay.

The current state of the 2008 wound, with a
climbing hydrangea about to overtake it.  The
first wound is completely covered by the vine.
This summer I noticed some fungus growing at the top of the wound. This was a couple of weeks after a tree at the end of the block came down and knocked out power to the neighborhood for a whole day.  I started to worry about that darn hackberry.  I suggested calling in an arborist.  The husband resisted.  He was reluctant to hear that the tree would have to come down.  That it was a danger to passersby and the front of our house.

But one day, I went ahead and called an arborist in a nearby city.  He came by very early on a recent Saturday morning.  We prepared ourselves to hear the worst.  But lo and behold, he said he did not recommend removing the tree or even any of its branches.  Maybe a little trimming in a few years to take out some dead wood if we wanted to.  I was very surprised and also relieved.  My husband?  It was the best gift he ever received, to hear that his beloved hackberry was spared.  At least he had enough dignity not to do a happy dance right there in the front yard.


  1. Good Morning,
    Your home and yard are beautiful. So happy that the tree can remain. I love to ride down a street where the trees are large and provide shade.
    Hope you have a nice Monday.

  2. So pleased your tree is to survive, its a real shame when you loose a tree. We live in a conservation area so all work on trees have to be approved, so luckily people think twice about removing them. I came home today to find wind damage on our fig tree which is a shame, all that lost fruit!

  3. Your house looks beautiful, so different from the houses built here. I'm so pleased your tree is safe, and very relieved for your husband :) xx

  4. You got lucky! We have lost trees recently too. We had a big storm 2 weeks before my daughter's outdoor wedding reception at our home, that took down 5 of our pines, and two other trees on the back of the property. One of the pines also took out a corner of our roof.

    Last year one of our maples didn't do anything. Not a single leaf! This year, two of our trees are having very small leaves. One of them is already in full fall color, and the other, the leaves are already dried and brittle, yet the berries are intact.

  5. Wow, that's great news! I really can't believe it, but am happy for you all!!

  6. How wonderful. I am glad you were able to save it. I hate losing trees. Blessings- xo Diana

  7. I love your house and your trees! So glad the hackberry gets to stay. And I can so identify with your situation. Our neighborhood and house isn't as old, "only" about 55 years old, but we have two huge oaks in the front yard. And a poplar. That leans out and over the street. That my husband hates. But I've dug in my heels on that. Many of our neighbors have cut the trees from their yards and that makes me want to cry. Why would they do that? The trees make a mess? But they shade your house and you save on the power bill. Besides, they're beautiful and look how long it took them to get to that size!

  8. Thumbs up for that! I'm like your husband, very sentimental about these things. Cheers to healthy years for your hackberry tree! Yay

  9. Beautiful house, I love how it's yellow with super green lawn and trees. Best wishes for the hackberry tree. =)

  10. I'm glad your tree is OK. Our section of the country has lost thousands of Ash trees due to some blight. There are dead trees everywhere that home owners haven't taken down. I had to remove 4 from my front yard and it was a sad day. Your home is lovely by the way!

  11. Hi there -- I feel your pain with these trees. We have a similarly wooded lot here, and we have lost several. I rejoice with you in the saving of your tree. And thanks for stopping by.
    Sue at Naperville Now

  12. I love this personal story. Trees are special...especially OLD ones like yours. I'm glad that yours is going to make it and create shade for you and your family for years to come!

  13. That's a wonderful true nature story!! I love the wisdom of old large trees - if they only had eyes - what great stories they could tell.
    Thanks for sharing.

  14. I think your husband deserves one of those "tree hugger" shirts. :-) It's nice to know that there are people who will fight to preserve bits of Mother Nature in a world where elements of our natural environment are destroyed with little thought. I know your husband is so proud!

  15. What a pretty street you live in. I have not heard of that type of tree before but it sure is pretty. What a beauty! And no, you definitely wouldn't want to lose such a magnificent tree xx

  16. We had a hackberry in our front yard until several years ago, when we had it removed. I balked, like your husband, because removal would expose the full front of our house and we live along a busy street. But when we saw the interior hollows of the tree, we were thankful we had it removed. Several years earlier, a large limb had blown onto our bedroom roof during a windstorm. I know, not what you want to read about a hackberry.

    I love your house, BTW. It looks like the style of old house I've wanted to call home.

  17. I'm glad that it could be saved! We've had such a drought the last two years that many trees and shrubs have been lost. Thankfully the large trees in our front and back yard seem to be doing OK. Your yard and home are lovely, BYW!

  18. hello there
    Thank you so much for visiting my blog again and for following. I am so glad you did. I am now your newest follower.
    I have thoroughly enjoyed your walk with Alfie to the dog prairie and the drive back pass that wonderful red barn. I never say anything like that when I visited Chicago. I am a country girl so I am not so keen on the big cities. This scenery is more to my liking. Lovely glimpses of your part of the world

    Keep well

    Amanda :-)


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