A Job Well Done

As hard as it is to give up on a tree, especially one that has been pampered for five years, the fate of the native tulip poplar in our front garden was sealed last week when a massive oak crushed a nearby neighbor’s home.  We finally realized Goliath was too much of a risk, especially since we had lost 4 other trees in the past 6 months and they had fallen in a path which would put the ailing poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) in line with my second story office.


The garden this morning with the patchy silver trunk of the tulip poplar just left of center in this photo taken from my office.

The man on the white horse (or truck, if you insist) arrived on time, despite a few early morning sprinkles, and he and his crew began to organize their tools and move their equipment into place while I dug 7 emerging Autumn ferns (Dryopteris erythrosora), creating a small work area at the base of the tree.

Here is a look at the next 6+ hours.


Small branches are removed and tossed to the ground. (Photo taken from the security of the carport.)


Then, ropes are used to tie off larger limbs, one by one, to be cut and lowered.


Makes my skin crawl. How about you?



With the top gone, here’s what Goliath looks like from the office. The tree is roped and cut 4-feet at a time. Wow, compare how big it is to the lift.


Here is what’s going on down below.


Over and over again, bit by bit, the tree is dropped safely to the driveway.


Until the last cuts are made.

Many thanks to George Powers of Total Tree Service for a job well done.  I’ve never met a nicer group.  They were meticulous about their work, never gave me a moment’s worry about their safety, charged a fair price, and tidied up before they departed.  All in all, a sad day was made a little less worrisome because of their care and consideration.

George has 20 years experience, is fully insured, and offers free estimates.  You can reach him at 864-238-5045.

Thanks again, George!








29 thoughts on “A Job Well Done

    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Mary Lou–It is a big relief. And I’m surprised at how good the garden looks…so much larger. With the house surrounded by towering trees, it was almost claustrophobic. Now, I can breathe again!

    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Linda–Yes, it is sad, but the tree had very few living branches at the top and more were dying each year. It was limbed up a decade ago by a previous owner after an ice storm and the trunk was scared and damaged. Last month, sitting at my desk, I was within 100 feet of two mammoth oaks which fell in woodland. To hear the crack, not know which direction the tree is falling, and then feel the house shudder with the impact, put the power of a falling tree into perspective.

  1. Deen

    As someone who had a 50-ton, 96 foot long tree hit her house, I can tell you that you did a good thing. It was a long time before we could live in the house!

    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Barbara–I’m working on plans now for a full overhaul of the area in autumn. It’s the best time to plant and I travel less in winter, which will allow me to work more carefully and keep an eye on plants as they settle in. The old hollies along the street are coming out for a mixed shrub border and the hydrangeas might have to give way to a more choice selection.

  2. pbmgarden

    “The man on the white horse”–you’re hilarious, but then again that’s a very apt description. Glad you found such competent people to take care of the tree.

    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Susie–George and his crew really made it easy for me. They get a big 2 thumbs up! Other gardeners frequently email or call looking for the best designers, landscapers, and garden specialists. It is a pleasure to give good folks a pat on the back and pass along word about their work.

  3. Gloria Ballard

    Sad to see a beautiful old friend come down, I’m sure. We have a massive American elm in our small back yard that may suffer the same fate some day, for the same reason — safety. I don’t think I could be here to watch it happen, though.

    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Gloria–It was hard to make the decision, but once we set our sights on moving forward I was eager to get the project underway. The garden, especially the woodland, has taken me in new directions with plants and design, but I’ve always been conflicted about the lack of sunlight and inability to grow the flowering and productive plants I like best–roses, peonies, salvias, tomatoes, cucs, and especially herbs. Even a little more sun will be appreciated.

  4. Martha Strain

    Marian, you and Tim made the wise choice. You will work your garden magic and have that bed looking as if there had never been a large tree there!

  5. An Eye For Detail

    You’re so right that removing a huge tree like that really does open up a space. It always takes time to get used to such an enormous change…And yes, I am “height challenged” so would have an impossible time up that high! More power to those who can!

  6. mjarz

    Marian, you must be very relieved. Here in the Midwest we are prone to lots of spring and summer storms accompanied by high, high winds. The garden below is lovely and now you will have planting space. Only question remains: Tree, shrubs or perennials?

  7. Cathy

    We also had some trees down recently, but nothing compared to this! Really interesting to see the process on such a huge tree. In the past we have had a tree ‘man’ who works alone at an amazing pace, climbing the trees like a monkey and tossing huge logs to the ground like they were light as a feather! Glad your tree was removed so safely and relatively painlessly. Always sad to lose them but after seeing what happened to your neighbours it was the best decision Marian!

  8. Chloris

    I hate to see trees come down, but of course it had to go, you can’ t take risks, specially after seeing what happened to your neighbour’ s house.
    Eee- I can’ t look at the man teetering at the top of the tree, it makes my toes curl. But as you say, a job really well done.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s