Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Story of a Tree

We purchased our current home in 1981. In he backyard there were no plantings against the patio wall and only two orange trees left in the yard. Someone had cut the others down because they made mowing harder than he thought it should be. In 1982 we planted a an African sumac tree, a fast growing tree that needs little water; it is native to South Africa. It grows at the rate of about 24 inches a year. The picture below is from 1982, not long after we planted it.

The next photo is from about 19898 or 1990.

The photo below shows the tree in 2010 at it most magnificent. I believe that winter we lost a medium size limb from the left side.

This tree thinks it is still in South Africa and blooms and gets bee pollinated starting about the first of December and lasting into January. The first photo below shows a small bunch of blossoms. These blossoms generally cover the tree as you can see in the second photo. This is all well and good except these blossoms act like a sponge, soaking up large amounts of water in a rain storm. Unfortunately for the tree we often get significant rain storms in December.

On December 4 2014 Roberta was standing at the kitchen window about 0830 when she heard a loud crack and watched a very large limb slowly fall into the yard from the right (east) side of the tree. Fortunately it fell between the wall and the fountain, also missing the large pots. By the time this happened we had received 0.9 inches of rain, according to my gauge. The two photos below show the limb immediately after it has broken off and fallen.

A few days later a Cooper's hawk landed on top of the empty fountain. Every winter we have one or more Cooper's hawks trying to dine on the birds that come to our feeders. Apparently he needed to check this addition to the back yard.

We let the mess dry out and then had at cleaning it up. We did it slowly as we had empty trash barrels to fill up. We were able to cut the small branches off with a pair of heavy duty lopers. This process is shown in the photos below.

These photos shows the broken limb and where it came from.

The photos below give you a better idea of just how big this limb was.

We borrowed a chain saw from our neighbor and Uncle Alan helped with the big portions of the limb.

At this point the spirits of the tree put in an appearance. I don't know if they are Ents or what, but they don't appear to be too happy. I assured them it wasn't our fault.

The photos below show the tree after all the cleanup was done. I hope we don't lose any more limbs. If we do the tree spirits will really be angry.