Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Could the Emerald Ash Borer Have Been a Blessing?

For those of you have been reading my blog for a while now, you may remember that a couple of years ago we discovered the Emerald Ash Borer had made it to Oakville.   TreeAzin was being pushed by the Town of Oakville as a fix.  I decided I'd let nature take its course when I discovered a) the pesticide was never tested as being safe for woodpeckers and my tree was covered in them and b) it can't be used around water and every third house in this area seems to be built over an underground stream.  As it turns out, TreeAzin certainly isn't living up to the promise it first showed, treated trees are succumbing almost as fast as those that haven't been.

So, after much delay, today was the day that the ash would come down.  I'd rearranged the muscles in my back cutting down and moving piles of plant material to make way for the crew and equipment.  Normally the branches can be dropped and carried out. Sadly, there was no place to drop them, so we had to hire a crane that would be stationed on top of several gardens.

Late last night they moved the metal platforms into position.

You can see the gardens that they are sitting on.

Here's one last shot of the ash from kitchen window:

At 7:45 Mr. Crane arrived.

Here is Bart guiding him into position:

The arborist, tied into the tree and ready to work his chainsaw:

Fingers crossed all the knots are nice and tight on this side of the house:

Because every piece has to be cut off and ...

swung over the roof:

To the waiting equipment and crew on this side:

Branch #1:

and there it goes, into little tiny pieces:

I left to do my groceries and came back to find most of the crown of the ash gone in only 90 minutes!

I went downstairs to try to avoid some of the noise.  When I came back up, there was the rest of the tree on the street.  I am so glad I didn't know it was going over the roof when I was sipping my soup:

They figure the tree was about 80 years old or so.

While I knew that it drew its last breath this summer, I had no idea that the tree was so hazardous.  Look how little was holding it onto its spot in my garden:

For anyone who wants to practice their emerald ash tree borer exit hole spotting.  Here's your chance:

This gives you another idea of how big it was:

And here's the stump - the rot breaks away like brown sugar:

Another kind arborist giving my photo some scale:

And for those of you who enjoy seeing chainsaws in action - here are a few shots:

While the rule is that you've got about 18 months to get an ash down when it dies because it rots at the base (proof positive several photos above).  Had the insects not done their worst, I would have had no idea that it was such a hazard.  I'm so sorry to lose another old tree, but so glad it came down on my terms and not as spectacular punctuation point to one of Mother Nature's wild storms.

In my office, I can hear the fellows continue to clean up and take away the mess.  They're leaving me with a double face cord that should last for a couple of winters to come.

I'll definitely think of this good old tree when I'm sitting by the fire enjoying the crackle of its logs.

And just one more shot - of the stumping machine - something that's done as easily as a video game.  The controls are in his hands.  Just think of years ago, when you had to pull out the old work horse and spend a day getting it out of the ground.  Looks like it will be gone in less than 2 hours.  Amazing.  It was there for so long, and now gone.

Jenn from Wildwood shared this video with me for the bit I missed!


CanadianGardenJoy said...

Barb girl this process is amazing !
We had a Stag Horn sumac taken out .. so small compared to your ask but we also had the stumper machine because their suggestion of packing salt into the stump(over the winter) did not work and I lost a few plants.
That tree was so close to your house and almost by chance you might not have gotten it down in time ? take about fate ... and lots of wood to burn to top it .. sad as it is to lose such a beautiful tree to those damn insects .. and I think you are right about that chemical substance.
They are so quick to put something on the market that isn't tested properly.
This was a great "blow by blow" account of the tree falling, thanks !
Joy .. yes , yesterday was a beautiful day .. I was in the garden and paying for it now but I got lots done and very happy with that : )

Paul Jung said...

Sorry to see your old ash taken down but I'm astounded by the amount of internal decay it had!

Good closeups of the tell-tale "D" shaped borer exit holes.

Looks like there's no stopping the EAB, even the winter we had last year.

Barbarapc said...

Joy, I can't believe how happy I am it is done and dusted. We came so close to more excitement than I would have wanted. So strange how the Town of Oakville is still pushing the stuff - the Town Arborist is still talking it up.
Paul, it was amazing to see how many hundreds of them there were. Really had the borers not done their worst, I would have never known just how bad the tree was. This winter I fear we would have been using the chainsaws in the dining room instead of on MacDonald Road.

Jennifer said...

So sad! So many years of growth and then the tree is gone just like that! The damage looked extensive however, so just as well you took action now. I am wondering what happens to the infested wood. Do they burn it?

Barbarapc said...

Jennifer - I've been grieving for this great old tree for over a year now - so surprised that Wildwood was able to get it down so quickly given the location. My fears (and work to move all the plants) of using the crane in the middle of my garden was the salvation. Several of the arborists said it would have taken three days otherwise. Most of the tree was chipped. The only wood burning will be done in our fireplace. Because Ontario is recognized as an infected province for Emerald Ash Borer, they're not doing anything special with any of the residue anymore.

What a day - so glad it's over, just writing the cheque now for the work.....better this big cheque rather than one for half a new house if it came down! B

Donna@Gardens Eye View said...

I don't want to lose our ashes and we were lucky again this year but the EAB is close by...and one tree already looks like your brown sugar rot due to carpenter ants so it will go soon; we already cut 20 ft off the top. When they rot like that they are dangerous...we had one fall that was old and huge and it took out the power in the whole neighborhood when it went down in a wind storm.

Gail said...

How sad to lose such an old tree, but, better than it falling on your house.

Helen said...

Whoa! That's serious. Glad you didn't get bonked on the head by falling trees.