Tuesday, May 18, 2010

a huge branch from our old American Elm crashed into the back yard

Friday afternoon we noticed that there was a crack in the largest branch of our 80+ year old American Elm and that it was hanging down a little lower than usual. I called and left a message with an arborist, thinking it could wait until this week. It didn't wait.

Saturday evening we heard that awful sound of an electrical transformer blowing and our electricity went out. The cracked branch was now a crashed-into-the-back-yard branch. Some Austin Energy guys swooped in with flashlights and did something with chainsaws and ropes (too dark for me to see) to get it out of the electrical line then quickly disappeared, like a scene from "Brazil".

Besides squashing a small cherry laurel tree and some of my raised vegetable beds, the branch didn't cause any real damage. Whew.

Today the fantastic Scott George and his fantastic crew from Austin Beautiful Trees, Inc. cut off and removed the branch and pruned lots of other drooping branches from the elm and our old 50+ foot sycamore. Watching these guys do their tree art is fascinating.

The trees look much happier now.

street side before: dense, droopy, crowded

street side as of an hour ago: clean and airy

And shade is no longer a problem for my tomatoes.

new sunny spot for vegetable raised beds

Basil and chard aren't too squashed after all. I need to harvest the last few potatoes and pull out the old bolted broccoli and kale.


The Younger Rachael said...

We've had quite a few branches come down with the wind, and we've been without power b/c of the wind, also (probably branches again).

When did you put the potatoes into the ground? How do you know to harvest them?


Annie in Austin said...

Oh, Iris - what a weekend and how well you described it!

Our front yard changed a lot when one tree went, and Renee's treehouse tree sure changed her garden with its exit.

It's funny to realize that all the tweaking we do is dwarfed by the fall of a big ol' tree branch.

Have fun with the new sun!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Iris said...

The Younger Rachael--We didn't even have windy conditions Friday & Saturday, so I guess it was just the stress of last summer's drought combined w/winter-spring rains that broke the branch.

I planted the seed potatoes in late March. When the plants flower and start flopping over and/or when the ground starts sort of breaking up near the base of the plants, start digging around near the base to harvest them. Some of mine you can actually see starting to stick up out of the ground.

Annie--Thank you for liking my description! I have to admit I'm excited about the new sun spot back there. I have to keep an eye on the newly wounded tree but will keep fingers crossed it heals okay.

LindaCTG said...

I'm sorry but thanks for the tip on these great guys. The same thing happened to us a few years ago when a neighbor's tree crashed on our power line in AUGUST. No power for 3 days. We are now keeping an eye on all trees close to power lines! But yea for new sun. Went through that last year when we finally removed a cottonwood that was threatening us.

Iris said...

Linda--No power for three days in August?? Oh, man! We got off easy compared to that! I'm very happy to recommend these guys. It's the first time I've used them and they were extremely prompt, responsive, and courteous. They followed through on everything promised in a timely manner and did a great job--were more careful of the raised beds than I told them they needed to be!

k said...

Love all the pictures telling the story!

ConsciousGardener said...

Yikes! I had two giant Sycamore branches drop last week, on two separate days...just missed my car and took out a cenzio and 3 Autumn Sages. I hope the wind slows down...though hurricane season has yet to come...

Pam/Digging said...

"new sunny spot for vegetable raised beds"

There's always a silver lining, isn't there? Your trees do look much better now. I need to have mine trimmed too, but since they're live oaks and it's oak wilt season, they'll have to wait.

Iris said...

k--Thanks! I lucked out catching a couple of action shots.

ConsciousGardener--Thank goodness your car was spared! The tree guys also trimmed our big old sycamore, so I'm hoping it will be okay when it gets windy again.

Pam--It is a silver lining. Thanks for noticing the tree improvements!

Meredith said...

With a negative comes a positive -- grats on your new sun spot for your veggies! That was a pretty impressive branch -- glad the damage wasn't severe.

TexasDeb said...

I've had it with these windy days - my wind chimes are really grating on my nerves with their constant clanging. But no tree problems. So far.

I am glad your beautiful house wasn't harmed - nobody's car got bashed, etc. Pretty dramatic way to get into tree trimming mode however.

You all live such an exciting life!

Kathleen Scott said...

How scary, so glad it didn't hurt the house and everything turned out OK. Were you able to keep any of the wood?

Your first yard picture reminded me of coming back to our barrier island home in Florida after a hurricane. I thought I'd always miss the 200 year old oak but we life goes on and we did other things that were beautiful in a different way. Sounds like you've already made that adjustment.