Masters at their Craft

This past Monday couldn’t come fast enough. When that huge limb blew out of our red oak early the morning of August 20, I immediately worried about the other shoe, pardon me, branch, falling right behind it.

When this huge branch fell from 25 ft. on August 20 it crushed a very heavy clay urn. Click image for larger view.

The first one had crushed a 42-inch-high ceramic urn filled with soil and toppled two others beside it. But otherwise, it had fallen harmlessly to the ground.

But the next big one above it, should it fall, would have taken out almost all of the landscape along our driveway. A 40-year-old Glendora White crape myrtle, a semi-mature chinquapin oak, hollies and several dozen other plants around them. Plus, it probably would have torn the remainder of the mother Shumard red oak’s trunk to bits.

Continued Below

I called my friend Steve Houser, founder and owner of Arborilogical Services, advertiser here in e-gardens and on my radio program for 25 years. “That’s summer limb drop,” Steve told me. I’d never heard the term. Hey, I’m a dad, a granddad and a great-granddad. We’re always the last to find things out. But this is in my “field of expertise” and I still didn’t know.

When my trees “see” this truck coming into our driveway, they know that the best of care is heading their way. Click image for larger view.

So, I did my research, and I found that it certainly does happen during times of drought and stress. Like last year and this year. Trees take in moisture overnight and the dried wood, brittle from the drought, almost explodes from the tree from the weight of the humidity. Or something like that. I’m still not the authority – and it seems like there still is no clearcut explanation.

Anyway, I sent out the SOS to Arborilogical Services to help with my tree on their next available date. That was this past Monday.

This photo, taken a day before the crew arrived, shows the very large, low-hanging branch just above our porch and laundry room and extending back over and beyond my home office. It had gradually sunk closer and closer to the roofline. Click image for larger view.

And while they were here, I (otherwise known as Mr. Paranoia) decided it would be the perfect time to have them take off that giant branch that has been hanging over my head in my home office. I’ve sat in my chair pretty much 12 hours a day in that back room you can see behind the brick wall in my photos.

Continued Below

You know how brittle pecan limbs are. That branch has sagged lower and lower over the past several years, and when Mr. Shumard did its big deed on our drive, I couldn’t wait any longer to have the limb taken off the pecan.

Look closely and you’ll see the difference. The huge branch is gone! I can work without worry. Click image for larger view.

So, this Monday both branches came off – one from the red oak and one from the pecan. It was amazing to see the volume of lumber that made up these branches. Honestly, I don’t think my photos tell it well enough. They were huge.

Maybe by including this chair in my photo you can get a comparison of the size of the limb the guys took down. Pretty incredible that they can do this without damaging other plants or the house! This is why you want to hire a Certified Arborist to do your tree work! Click image for larger view.
Look at the volume of branches removed in the process of taking down that big limb. Click image for larger view.

And to think of the Arborilogical guys climbing those trees and taking those branches down without harming so much as one leaf of the “good plants” nearby (or my office roof!) speaks to their incredible skill.

It’s hard to perceive the tree without the large limb, but here it is. There is no longer anything to fall and destroy the landscape beneath it. We’ve lived in our home 46 years, and this tree was 4 inches in diameter when we moved in. Click image for larger view.

I’m sorry I don’t have any photos of the guys doing the actual work. Steve and I were visiting in our sunroom. Our friendship goes back, as I said, 25 years. We were catching up with some things going on in our lives, and before we knew it, 3 hours had passed. We all should be blessed to have friends with the warmth and grace of Steve Houser. As a man, as a team leader of his business, as a committed environmentalist, and especially as a friend, they don’t come any finer. I am richly blessed.

I hope you enjoy and appreciate the magnitude of the work his crew led by 13-time Texas State Tree Climbing Champion Miguel Pastenes did at our house on Monday. I know Lynn and I do!

The final clean-up involves taking all the small brush and feeding it into this beast. The Arborilogical guys do a spectacular job cleaning up after themselves. Click image for larger view.
These are branches that have broken or been removed over the years. Note that oak wounds should always be sealed with pruning paint to prevent entry of the oak wilt fungus. By comparison, it’s better to let pecan wounds (and those of other species) heal without sealant. Click image for larger view.
It’s best not to use pruning sealant on most species of trees (except oaks) following pruning. This was where the limb was removed from our pecan. Cut branches will heal more quickly if not painted. Click image for larger view.
Posted by Neil Sperry
Back To Top