Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Homage to an Oak Tree

Where the tree used to be.

When it was icy last week, one of the places on the front lawn where the ice collected the most was where one of our Red Oak trees used to be, stately and wonderful. We lost our battle with the old tree's illness last year and had to have her cut down. We're still using her for firewood, but I miss her, especially before she became so ill.

A few years ago...

This photo is from a few years ago - I'm not sure exactly when, as the files are not dated properly - I probably imported them. Anyway -the house is still that lovely color of pinky-orange it was when we bought it, but the new shutters are already up. The door is not new, and the grasses are very small. And, we have two Red Oak trees in the front yard.

The yard with two big oak trees in front.

Look at the lovely shade she provided.

And the beautiful patterns she made on the grass.

But, alas, the red oak near the driveway was sick when we bought the house. We consulted all sorts of arborists - organic, chemical, republican and democrat. We deep root treated it. We made it's "feet" drier and wetter. It just was in decline, as the arborists say, and sometimes there's just nothing you can do. The most likely scenario, being that we found a huge water leak under the ground after we bought the house and the Japanese Maple was also ailing at the time, was that she was too wet for too long, but being so much bigger than the Maple, couldn't recover.

We tried trimming her up here and there...

...but she was clearly dying, especially when compared to the healthy Red Oak on the left of this photo.

She lost her bark and pretty much didn't come back one spring.

We had to make the difficult decision to cut her down. We saved all her wood for firewood - as you can imagine, it was more than we could use - we gave some to family and friends. And we chipped some up in to mulch. Her trunk could have been used as a table, it was so big. Before we had the stump ground up, in anticipation of planting new trees, S went out and shot a few photos of what was left of her. It gives you an idea of her former majesty.

You can count her rings. She was about 50 years old.
So, she was probably planted when the house was built.

And she was mighty - look how small S's ski of a foot looks next to her stump.

We were so sad to see her go.

This photo was last winter when we got some actual snow.

We have plans to replace her, after talking with arborists and landscapers, with two "medium growth" trees that won't compete for sky space with the remaining Red Oak. I even took a continuing education class at SMU to learn about what the best trees to plant would be. We've decided on a Lacebark Elm and a Shantung Maple, both hearty in this climate. But, we haven't planted them yet - maybe this spring! After the fence is repaired...

Last week, the ice stuck to her spot - made a visible reminder that she once was there. So, I wanted to share her memory with you here.


  1. Ever read The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein? The shots of the stump made me think of it. Good book. You undoubtedly would cry upon reading it, though. -Steve

  2. Awww...what a great tree! So sorry to see it go. We have puny little trees in our front yard that are probably as big around as my wrist. Someday, they will be big and majestic, I'm sure, but not while we are here.


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