Saturday, September 01, 2012

More than the usual 'haircut'

As my blog profile notes, I live in a house that has trees all around it. In amongst the mostly Western Red cedars, there’s a tall and graceful hemlock and proudest of all, a Sitka spruce.

Yesterday, when the arborist came for the trees’ semi-annual haircut, the spruce got much more than its usual summer trim.

You see, our neighbourhood’s changing – from the settled-in place it’s felt like for the years that we’ve lived here. It’s been common enough practice for the not-so-old older homes (1970s vintage) to be gutted and renovated, but now it seems that’s no longer enough. Today’s new neighbours want the old homes gone, so the noisy crunch of bulldozers has become an all-too-common sound.

Sadly, for me – and for many of the longtime neighbours – the roar of bulldozers is now generally accompanied by the grinding of chain saws and shredders.

The property next to us has sold and plans for the new, bigger house mean that three large trees – a Douglas fir, a hemlock and another Sitka spruce – out on the lane will be going. Further, we understand that a large heritage oak will be drastically cut back, and our own majestic Sitka has had to be pruned along one side.

We’d alerted the new neighbour to our arborist’s arrival and invited him to observe with us what was going on. All seemed well enough while the cutting took place – we even let him suggest some branches higher up than originally planned.

Only then, about 20 minutes after the job was finished, the new neighbour came by with yet another request (not for me – he’d only discuss such lofty matters with my husband): that the branches needed to go back even further towards the trunk, and that more branches from higher up needed cutting.

Fortunately, it wasn’t just my husband who said no. The arborist stepped in, saying that he’d already taken more than had been planned. He further pointed out (because he knows the city bylaws) that plenty had been taken to comply with building regulations and that the tree could not sustain further cutting without causing damage.

The spruce remains standing tall, protecting us from sun and wind and weathers of all sorts, as do the three tall trees along the laneway. Still, it makes me nervous, every time I go out on an errand, fearful of what kind of damage I might find when I get home.

No comments: