There isn’t much a farmer can’t fix with baler twine, and there aren’t many trees that can’t be dealt with using a rope and a tractor. So when we were called to a farm near Kingsbridge, to deal with a mature Ash with Dieback, we knew it was going to be a challenge.
Having already had some large roots severed, and with the infestation of Dieback, climbing and dismantling was out of the question. The only specifications were to avoid damage to the barn to the south, and the static caravan to the east, so the tree was headed north! Of course, no tree job on a farm would be complete without a rope and tractor, so for ‘belt & braces’ they were used to give a little tug on the right direction.
This week we had the pleasure of working at a beautiful mill near the river Erme. Unfortunately, during the recent high winds, a self-set Ash had let go of the mill pond bank, and fallen straight across the water to the opposite bank.
With the pond drained, we set about carefully dismantling the Ash, leaving only a sprinkling of saw dust, and a neat pile of logs for their stove.
The recent storms have caused chaos and countless damage, and unfortunately many trees have been lost.
Bricklehampton Hall lost a very old veteran Beech, that was very close to the main entrance. Luckily, the only damage was to the lawn. But as it also fell across a car park, and narrowly missed a wall, things could have been very much worse.
Clearing up the damage, and dismantling the remaining trunks was a bittersweet experience for me. I grew up just around the corner, and fondly remember playing in its shadow on the long, hot summer days.
The rot throughout the tree was so extensive, not only in the lower main union, but also much higher in one of the other trunks, it’s a small wonder that had stood for as long as it did.
The silver lining to this stormy cloud is that some of the lower wood is spalted, and may make an excellent bowl or two, in the hands of a skilled wood turner.
Some recent work we carried out for Little Comberton parish council. Manor Lane had been left unmaintained for over 20 years. As well as some very overgrown Hazel clumps, there were some dangerous and rotten Damsons that were essentially, holding each other up.
The church is now visible when approaching from the east, and the bank is now ready for the old footpath to be reinstated. We will be back in the Autumn to plant Hawthorn and Dog Rose to fill in the gaps in the hedge. All works were carried out under the strict supervision of the parish council and Wychavon’s tree officer.
Poplars and Willows are very popular trees to plant near brooks and other natural drains that can easily flood. Mainly due to their natural thirst for water, and the fact they are a fast growing species
And there in lies the problem…
Fast growing species such as Willow and Poplar, are also inherently weak structured trees when compared to slower growing broad leaf species such as Oak or Elm. Without regular, professional maintenance they can soon dominate the sky, blocking out views and light. But more importantly, they can become ‘too heavy for their own good’. Enter the cold weather and strong winds, and you could soon be facing more than a leaf covered lawn.Pollarding is a common way to keep These trees in check. However, it must be done with correct cutting techniques and at a suitable frequency for the size and species of tree.
This particular Poplar, had been left for too long, and the new growth had become dangerously heavy. It also hadn’t been pollarded correctly the last time, this led to some bucket rot and excessive deadwood.
The close proximity of the tree to fences and other garden obstacles required some very careful lowering techniques. Progress was painfully slow, but by the time we ran out of light, everything was on the ground.
Several days this week were spent reducing the height of two 50 year old Lombardy Poplars.
Initially the customer wanted them completely removed, through fear of them being blown over onto their block of stables. However, after discussing the plans with their next door neighbour, who remembers them being planted, the decision was made to have them reduced instead. By reducing them by a third, the sail effect has been dramatically reduced, giving them a much better chance of surviving high winds.
At well over 30 meters tall, this kind of work isn’t for the faint hearted. And as one of the most awkward species of trees to climb, the job really pushed our limits. But the views made it all worth while…
The Skywalkers team got to spend the day down by the river, enjoying some rare sunshine. In between felling four large Cedars!
Sunday is normally our only day of rest, but the customer only received planning permission to remove the light blocking behemoths on Friday. They were also desperate for the work to be done, due to imminent demolition, and subsequent building works.
As well as requiring planning permission, due to a blanket Tree Preservation Order (TPO) in a conservation area, the trees also had to fully surveyed for bats and nesting birds.
Due to the location of the site in Stratford-upon-Avon, Natural England also has to be consulted. They were happy for the removals to go ahead, in exchange for an archeological dig in the front and rear garden before the demolition works commenced!
At Skywalkers we always treat tree removal as a last resort, and we will always try and discourage a customer unless a complete removal is absolutely necessary. But in this case, the neighbouring gardens both contained several other Western Red Cedars, so we were happy to comply with the customers wishes. The trees almost completely blocked the customer’s view of the Avon, as well as keeping the garden in constant shadow. This in turn, was having a detrimental effect on other species attempting to grow in their narrow riverside garden.
These Laylandii were in need of a some serious maintenance. One company quoted £400! We did all the work, including a thorough clean up, for less than half the first quote. The result was one very happy customer!
“Fantastic service! Very prompt to answer questions and give a quote. Trees look the best they ever have and everything was left tidy and clean afterwards! Will definitely be using again!”