WHY NATURE WHY?!
Notice how the trees are slowly trying to devour our house? Not cool trees. Not. Cool.
So I actually really like trees and bushes slightly overgrown. I do. I like having these trees in the location they are. They are the only ones that are close to the house and trees like these (decorative and in the right spot for making the front door pop) are the only place for my kids to have their swings. And any mom with three kids ages 4, 3, and 2 know the importance of swings. So yeah. What’s a mom to do?! But the problem was the size.
When we first bought the house, the trees were a little less super-sized.
Over the years they filled out and there came a point where they looked good….even if the one on the right was a tiny bit too close to the house.
But then recently they just got out of control.
So this year in Georgia, we had a lot of spring rain. A lot. Every day we got flood warnings in surrounding counties or our own. Combine that deluge of water with a bad gutter system and trees that were blocking some of our gutters and it was a recipe for disaster. Our front porch was becoming a water park….
The trees were growing roots into the underground drainage systems and the branches were blocking up the roof gutters. We had never really investigated where all the drainage pipes went (they were here when we moved in) so Jeremy spent a lot of time figuring it all out. And the water that was supposed to be drained away from the house was sitting right next to our foundation.
Here in our part of Georgia, the red clay is our dirt….it doesn’t absorb water like normal dirt. This makes it really dangerous to have water near your house…it can literally collapse your foundation from the pressure. We have known people that have had their entire basement fall in on itself….and you can imagine what happens with everything above that. So our number one priority was getting the water away from the house.
The rain was also causing some aesthetic problems as well….it literally washed away our garden beds…the mulch, dirt and bushes.
So I had blogged about installing a french drain and how we did that. Click here to read all about it. It was working when it came to addressing the issue of the run off from the driveway but we still needed the gutter issue fixed.
And when it came to the gutters, the first step was fixing the tree situation. As you can see, the gutters were literally pouring out the rain and some had filled completely up because the water had nowhere to go.
We called three different arborists in our area knowing that the first step was to get the trees off the house and remove any low hanging branches….both for curb appeal and for the health of the tree and for the prep of the gutters.
I was kinda shocked when I heard the quotes but later on it made sense. The trees were in the middle of a growing season and we couldn’t trim more than a third off each branch. That meant we could reduce the tree by 5 feet on each side and top without legit killing the tree. If we had done this last winter, it would have been a different story. We could have trimmed them as much as we wanted. But we couldn’t wait.
The trees also needed to be completely off the house and have no branches hanging over the roof or gutters. They also needed to be pruned into a more rounded shape. Curb appeal matters people.
So the quotes came back in the $450-$575 range. We figured that was about $250 a tree which in our mind was fair….considering that included all the pruning, removal of branches and it took all day in one hundred degree heat. The day before the arborist was scheduled to arrive, we checked the lowest branches to make sure that the birds nests were empty.
The boys were so into it. Thankfully we didn’t have to move any baby birds! Also…why my kids want to wear pants in the middle of the summer is beyond me.
The gutters and curb appeal weren’t the only reason we really needed the trees trimmed. The one tree was overlapping the side of the house pretty closely….
And we realized that somehow the water or bugs were causing damage to the fascia boards near our light. Apparently if your trees are this close to your house, pests and animals use it like a super highway into your house. Imagine highway 91 for termites.
The other thing that they told us was that when branches criss-cross and touch (that sounds like a dance move), it’s super bad for the health of the tree. They apparently rub each other and create ‘wounds’. And the insects can use that as a place to burrow and cause even more damage. Yikes.
This one really needed thinned out. And look how it’s pulling on the gutter. Double yikes.
The day the arborist rolled up was a super exciting day for the kids. Big trucks and a wood chipper? Yep…Bower Boy heaven.
There was no way that this job would ever be done by either Jeremy or I. We have tackled lots of DIY. Climbing into a tree with a chainsaw twenty feet off the ground? Nope.
The boys sat on the porch and watched for a lot of the morning…until it got too hot and they decided to do the water slide instead 🙂
The finished result was exactly what we wanted. The branches were off the house and not above the roof at all.
Then it came time to call out a carpenter that could fix that board right above the light that had rotted.
Soon that was fixed and I felt like we had sufficiently prepped for the new gutters.
It’s hard to tell on this other tree but you can see the shape is more like a lollipop and less like a mushroom.
In the end, we were super happy with the results. And we learned a lot more too. Here are some of our best tips if you are looking to get hire an arborist….
- get quotes from arborists – not just tree removal companies
- make sure you prep your area (take down the swings, bird feeders, move cars, etc.)
- arrange to have the trimming in the dormant winter months (otherwise you are limited to reducing overall size by only 25%)
- look at pictures of your specific species of tree so that you can know what shape you like
- ask if they chip the branches and haul away the chips or you keep that mulch
- as they finish a tree, walk around it and view it from all angles to make sure you like the finished product (shape, size, thinning)
- put it on your calendar when they need to be trimmed/thinned again. Ours was every 2-3 years.
I am sorry about the terrible iPhone photos but hey…reality. And now our trees are looking so much better….and we are ready for the big thing…the GUTTERS! Maybe one of these days we won’t have our house sitting in a puddle or overflowing! I mean…I want a pool….but not that kind 🙂