Moving to an established acreage my dear husband and I became instant custodians of many mature trees. One particular tree is a large Ash Tree in the backyard close enough to the house to touch the roof. When we first moved into our new adventure home, we called our local county exchange office and had an arborist come out to walk the property and give us advise on what we needed to keep our trees healthy. Upon seeing this Ash tree, she suggested it would need to come down in the next year or two.
What we had not expected is that the tree would be coming down in the next year or two without without us brining it down. We had some other trees on the property that were in more urgent need and took care of those the first time we had the arborist crew come out. Nature does things on its own time.
One summer evening we had high winds during a severe storm. My dear husband and dear daughter were downstairs closing the house while I was getting ready for bed upstairs. We all heard a cracking, splitting sound so loud it could have been the earth opening. No other sounds followed, and it seemed nothing had hit the house and so we all stayed inside and agreed to inspect the situation in the morning.
The next day we went out and found the Ash tree had split right now the trunk. It had not fallen to the ground as the nearby trees held it up with their outstretched branches. We immediately called the arborist crew to schedule a time to have them come out. The storm had been large enough that they would not be able to come out for three to four weeks. We called around to other companies to hear the same news. Leaving the tree as it was would be dangerous and we were leaving for vacation that next weekend.
My dear husband went to his truck and grabbed a ratchet strap. He climbed up on a ladder and got to work secure the large branches. I stayed on the ground and supervised the job providing little to no guidance but cheered him on and provided moral support. The tree came back together and seemed secure. Neither of us were sure how well this would work but it was the best option we had until the experts could arrive.
The next weekend came. The tree was holding strong with the strap. And we headed on our vacation leaving our favorite house and dog sitter with the phone number for the arborist crew should something more major happen. The night we left a storm larger than the first came through. Trees were down across our entire city and surrounding areas. More than half of the residents were left without power for weeks. When I woke up and heard of the storm, I immediately called our dear house sitter.
No power. Huge Winds. Tree still standing. Tree still standing? Tree still standing. Bless that ratchet strap. We know how blessed we are. We know this was a bit of luck but mostly God’s good fortune.
We did not want to be in this situation again. When the arborist crew arrived to take down the troublesome Ash tree we asked him an important question, “Should we be planting Ash trees?” He quickly said he did not recommend them in our area. We asked another question, “Are their trees you recommend?”
He was surprised by the question. His eyes got big and then he smiled. He replied, “I wish more people asked me that question.” He set to work writing out a list and explaining to my dear husband and me what he would and would not recommend. He explained what we should consider taking out and how to replace it. These were his recommendations for our area.
Asking the right question got the tree expert to open-up and share his knowledge with us. He was more interested in sharing his advice once he knew we were interested in what he did. As we spoke about what we wanted for the property he was able to suggest a native tree that would support that tree. We now have a vastly different plan for the next five years.
Ask the Expert. Then, take their advice.