Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Ye Old Hackberry

This time of year many of us spend a lot of time and energy on the yard and preparing the garden. I'm no exception. In Middle Tennessee, this is tornado season and we've been experiencing increased tornadic activity with lots of high winds. You're looking at the south wall of my studio that not only takes in the warm southern light but also the strong storm winds that come up from that direction. You can probably see how the very tall hackberry tree at the back corner leans toward the studio. The tree is about 75 - 80' tall.

If you've been following along, you'll remember the Bradford Pear tree that was split to the base in my back neighbor's yard a few months ago. Half a dozen more trees of various sizes came down in strong winds around the neighborhood probably as a result of last year's early warm spell, then four nights of temperatures in the teens which froze all the spring growth, then extreme drought, then lengthy heat spell with temperatures hovering around 106 Fahrenheit for weeks. Here's a neighbor's tree that simply let go of its roots:

I started to look more closely at this particular hackberry and noticed the lean, the split bark

and the decades of bad cuts leaving the tree with rotted branches that plummet now and again.

Every time the winds came up I found myself worrying about this tree falling. At a distance, you can see how top heavy the tree is.

Hackberry trees are notorious for breaking apart and toppling whole. An ardent tree hugger since childhood, I started getting estimates on taking it down.

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