Giant

In the past six months, we’ve seen the demise of four mammoth trees in our garden, but their loss was nothing compared to what happened at my neighbor’s yesterday just before nightfall.

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Thankfully, Jean and her family members visiting from California were unhurt.  A few hours made all the difference, however, as Jean’s bedroom was the most damaged part of the house.

Now we’re contemplating the future of our own Goliath, just steps from our front door.  We’ve been babying this weak tree for five years, but it might be time to let it go.

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At 4+ feet in diameter and shaped like a telephone pole, it could spit our house in two.

What would you do?

72 thoughts on “Giant

  1. FlowerAlley

    I see a lollipop tree that has all its weight at the top. When it comes it will have much force and will pull up its ball. Be proactive. Didn’t you live through Hugo? I see trees in a whole different way now. Where did all its lower limbs go? My insurance adjuster uncle would have a fit.

    Reply
  2. Linda (More Fun Less Laundry)

    Hi Marian, I’m a quiet admirer and follower of your blog, but I must comment today. This weekend we were in Washington DC and a tree fell on the house of friends, through the roof and into the bedroom, during the night (we were not there). The husband was knocked unconscious and is still in the hospital. He will recover, thank goodness. We have huge trees surrounding our own house in CT and our insurance company insisted on the removal of one giant which towered over the main entrance and front bedrooms a few years ago, just before we were hit with an August hurricane and an October blizzard. Thankfully we had it done, as we lost many other trees during those two storms. I vote for removing your tree! It is sad, but the consequences of a fall are tremendous. Thank you for your very enjoyable and inspiring blog! Linda

    Reply
    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Linda–I hope your friend has a quick and full recovery. The wind was brisk here again yesterday and I was really fearful. Thanks for your nice comments on the blog. I really enjoy sharing news about the garden and other topics when time allows.

      Reply
  3. Debra Strange

    If it is weak, take it down. I have not regretted a single tree I have removed from my property in 20 years.

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  4. Alice

    I have to agree with the others – take it down. My nephew on Long Island had all his big trees removed a few years ago; he knew he had tempted fate by leaving them as long as he had. Not 6 months later a huge storm took out almost every other tree on his street. There was major damage on every house but his. Be proactive and do it asap.

    Reply
  5. Teri Clark

    Marion,we just had 8 mammoth pines removed as one split in two and thankfully missed the house by 5ft, but destroyed my favorite part of the yard nit has taken a month and lots of dollars but actually now is a beautiful sanctuary again. Tell your friends that out of ashes can come surprising beauty!! So glad they are ok. Teri

    Sent from my iPhone

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    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Teri–I didn’t know about your tree experience. Ever since the two in the back went down a few weeks ago, I’ve been very fearful of what might happen next.

      Reply
  6. Judy Vick

    Have it taken down now, Marian. Last August I was sitting in our den reading morning paper (husband, Bing, not up yet) when a HUGE boom, boom, boom happened ! I went running ! husband came flying out of bedroom – saying it was the huge oak behind our house, hit corner of our house (boom) deck railing (boom) and crashed to ground cross ways through the widest part of our yard (huge boom). A few feet the other way and it would have been a catastrophy ! We were fortunate ! Huge trees are beautiful but if they’re old they may be rotting inside (ours was). So, do it now.

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  7. Laurin Lindsey

    Sadly the tree must go if you want to be safe. Also you might want to update your insurance policies! I wonder if you can have it sent to a mill and make something out of the wood. I am sorry for your neighbors that is really going to be a mess to repair. I went through hurricane Ike here in Houston and lost half my roof and one wall……..and the insurance company said that they don’t cover wind driven rain damage i. e. hurricanes. So now I have another policy with and umbrella policy and then a extra flood policy. I have my trees lightened so wind can blow through them every couple of years and this helps them from blowing over.

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  8. Lyn

    Time for it to go! Besides, more natural light will come through, which is always a good thing if you ask me!

    Reply
  9. Gail Elfert

    Safety first. The tree needs to go and make it soon. We have spent a fortune through the years taking out trees that were dangerous at three homes but it may well have saved our homes.

    Reply
  10. Sharon Lanier

    Time for the tree to go!! Though the continued loss of trees will change your garden, as Teri said… Beauty arises from the ashes.

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  11. Tim Suddeth

    Can’t wait to see how you’re going to replace it. As great as a tall tree can be, they are just temporary. Though it will take years to replace it.

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  12. Anne Woods

    You need to ask in light of what just happened to your neighbor’s house? Outta there! Hurry!

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  13. Beth croft

    I would call randy cyr at 864-233-9422 and have him take a look before u cut it down. We used him at Christ church and he has been a godsend.

    Reply
  14. Cathy

    Agreeing with everyone else above – but really, really feeling for your neighbours. Their house was so lovely as well. For the first time I feel glad I don’t live in a woodland any more (and I loved it)!

    Reply
    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Cathy–I know, I’m heartbroken for Jean too. She has wonderful family here in Greenville and her daughter from California is visiting, so I know they are taking great care of her, which is a comfort.

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  15. Eliza Waters

    Wow, how horrible for your neighbors, so glad they weren’t hurt. (And I’m whining about a few inches of snow??)
    Your tree’s roots are equally important to consider as it is top heavy. Is it ash?At 4′ diameter, that’s a lotta cordwood, or maybe a mill might take it as it is nice and straight.

    Reply
      1. Eliza Waters

        Slowly the snow is melting and patches of ground are emerging. I won’t be able to access the damage for a few days. I think all my croci are goners though.

  16. susurrus

    Your poor neighbour! I like trees but I’d like you to keep safe even more. If the tree has had its day, it makes sense to take it down in a controlled way rather than wait for it to fall.

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  17. Fran

    Take it down. We lost 13 in 2005. Took all the pine trees out of the yard after that one. I really feel for your neighbors. So glad they are ok.

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  18. johnvic8

    I presume you have talked with an arborist about your tree. I am thinking about an ounce of prevention…take it down. So sorry about your neighbor; we lived through Fran…hundreds of BIG trees were down. I remember driving through Hillsborough the morning after and seeing six to eight foot diameter oaks down.

    Reply
    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      John–Yes, we had the trees evaluated just after we moved here and the front garden was treated to increase soil microbial activity. You just never know, until the tree comes down, what is going on inside.

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  19. Cathy

    Oh goodness Marian. That was such luck that no one was hurt. What awful damage. I would not feel safe with a similar tree near my house. We have just had some cut down near our own house but nothing that size that could cause so much damage. I think it would be wise to have yours removed too.

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  20. Susan Wilkins

    I say good bye to your tree! That is terrible damage to their home! So thankful no one was injured. Susan Wilkins

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    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Susan–Many of the old trees in Marshal Forest are on their last legs. It’s a shame to take them down, but it’s not worth the worry when you see the damage.

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  21. mjarz

    Wow the damage to your neighbor’s house is unimaginable. Thank god no one was hurt. I see this as a cautionary tale: Take down your top heavy, ailing tree.

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  22. Christina

    Trees are lovely things to have but your giant looks very unstable, and not even beautiful, take it out, the images you showed of your neighbours property were terrifying.

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  23. Julie

    Oh My goodness Marian, your poor neighbours what a dreadful shock, there will be so much to do to rectify the damage, thank goodness no-one was hurt. I think I would take that giant out and replace it with something smaller and more beautiful.

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  24. Frogend_dweller

    How horrifying for your neighbours, but what lucky timing. Our house insurance policy is very tight about trees near the house, their size and age etc. It does seem particularly risky to leave that giant so close with your recent loses.

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  25. pbmgarden

    This is heartbreaking, so sorry for your neighbors Marian. Yes, take the tree down. At my previous home we had 26 loblolly pines down one weekend during an ice storm, 12 of them on the house. More the next weekend during a second ice storm. No fun.

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  26. David Watkins

    Good golly, Marian! What a disaster! My heart goes out to your neighbor. Mother Nature runs the show, doesn’t she? I’m on the fence concerning your tree. Our home is surrounded by large oak trees. At times when the wind picks up and I hear the trees creak, I hold my breath, say a little prayer and silently say to the trees: If you gotta fall, fall away from the house! So far, so good. My husband says one day those trees are gonna stop listening. I can’t imagine.

    Reply
    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      David–I know what you mean and a big part of the reason we love this area is because of the trees. That said, I do think we’ve given this one time and care, but it doesn’t seem to be any more vigorous than it was 5 years ago. Or maybe I’m just becoming a chicken in my old age:^)

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  27. Chloris

    Goodness, it has to go. You can’ t risk such a terrible disaster. Specially after all the work you have done on your house. I feel so sorry for your neighbours, what a calamity.

    Reply
  28. Marian St.Clair Post author

    Chloris–You are right, it would be a disaster. It was another brisk day yesterday and every time I heard the wind pick up I was ready to run for the basement

    Reply
  29. rusty duck

    Living in the middle of a wood this is something I dread whenever the wind blows. We had 25 trees down that were towering above the roof, just weeks after moving in. And our own Goliath, 80′ tall but only 6′ from the house, came down last year. I feel so much safer. It’s a no brainer. I feel for your neighbour.

    Reply

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