I love trees.
Trees are fountains of life, as Akiva Silver sometimes writes(Trees of Power,2019). They transform two-dimensional, flat landscapes into lush, richly textured ecosystems brimming with life.
Trees come in all shapes and colors, quick growing pioneers and slow maturing climax species. Trees with fragrant flowers. Trees with glittering leaves. I even love trees with spines like the Black Locust.
But sometimes trees fall.
Last night, around 9pm, my neighbour Lars rapped on my window when I was reading the excellent weekly installment on the Fernglade Farm blog. I was startled since he was waving energetically, so I slipped on my clogs and ran out to see what was going on in the dark, rainy night.
One of our birch trees fell in the wind, out on the road
One of our birch trees, just at the corner of our property, had fallen in the heavy wind, straight out onto the road (a 80km/h road with quite a lot of traffic). The tree had also caught one of their flagposts and broken it, so both the tree and the flagpost were blocking the traffic. Lars' oldest son kept the cars at bay, while I ran back to get my Japanese Silky-saw to cut up the tree into manageable pieces. After a few minutes, we could clear the road and get most of the branches out of the way.
We were lucky that nobody got injured this time.
The birch tree broke off 2m above the ground
Next morning, I was up early to cut up the logs with my electric chain saw. The main trunk was hanging 2m above the ground, and that is a dangerous situation. It is often more dangerous to cut timber on the ground than to fell standing trees, since the masses are large and they can do a lot of damage when they fall the last meters to the ground.
Cleanup. One tree less, one flagpole less...
The reason why the tree broke off is that the horses of the previous owner had chewed on the bark of the tree, so it was weaker there. Most storms come from the west, but this time, we had a strong wind gust from the east, which stressed this part of the tree more than usual. Therefore the broke off due to the unusual wind, right at the point with most bark damage.
I did have this tree on my "todo"-list, to shorten or remove, but I had not come to that item yet.
Can I prioritize better next time?