Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Tree Down

A tree went down in our little forest and we actually heard it fall.  A quick snap followed by a brushing noise just as I walked by on the sidewalk.

Why did this happen?  The tree seemed fine right up until that moment and it's been a good year for trees with plenty of rain.

First thing first.  As it toppled the top branches snagged on Red Tip Photinia and the heavy tree trunk was hovering over the path to the gate so we needed to cut it down safely.

A little investigation of the remaining stump revealed that one side has rotted.  On closer inspection there was charring at the break and a few more charred spots along the trunk.  Lightning.  Even though the live oak tree was very close to the house and it was not even the tallest tree among others nearby.  Live oaks often grow sideways looking for light creating bends and crooks in their trunks.  Lightning damage was most severe at the bend in the tree about six feet above ground, and that's where it broke off, apparently many months after the event.

A few more chainsaw cuts...which reveal the tree died on one side but not the other.

And it's off to the woodpile.

I'll miss it.  In this before photo it's the tree to the left of the bench is now missing.

The area looks more open and more light gets through the office window.  I'm not sure I like that.  At this point it feels more like something is missing.  Such a different view now.

Are you wondering what happened to the bench?  A few days before the tree fell we moved it to protect newly planted sedge from deer, not as a place to sit.  Deer love making tracks through soft new soil and uprooting new plants so this is just one of our tricks to protect plants.

Just another day in the's always something.


  1. Sad as it always is to lose a tree, this is a fascinating post. It was so interesting to see the effect of the lightning on the cross-sections of tree trunk. I'm pleased that your bench survived. Who would have thought that deer would save the day?!

  2. It's scary when a tree comes down. I've used chicken wire tented and then stapled into the soil to keep critters from interfering with new plants. Using the bench is clever, and will work much better to deter those big deer.

  3. I guess the positive side of the story is that the lightning didn't hit the house and the tree didn't come down while you were under it but I know it's disappointing to lose a tree under any circumstances. Given time, I'm sure you'll find a way to fill the empty space.

  4. Plant an acorn? :)

    Interesting to see how the lightning killed the tree. Happy its fall didn't harm you or anyone else.

  5. Oh, it's always sad to lose a tree, but that is the way of nature...eventually for every tree. I'm glad no one was hurt. I suppose it will be tough to adjust to the new view, although maybe after a while it will be nice to have more sun there. You have so many beautiful rocks and stones in your garden.

  6. What Kris said! I'm glad you weren't walking under it when it fell! But since you're fine, this post is fascinating in the delayed effects of the lightning and the cross-sections of the trunk showing where the lightning killed it.

  7. Wow, that could have been so so bad. As it is I understand your feeling of loss.

  8. I'm sorry you lost a beautiful live oak but thankful that it didn't cause any damage to your or your house. Sounds like it's time to plant another.

  9. Always sad to see a tree fall and die. It takes so long for them to grow and be an impressive part of our gardens. Thanks for the photos - they sure helped to understand your situation. Jack

  10. Sorry you lost the tree. Always sad when that happens.
    But glad nobody was hurt.

  11. Had no idea that a lightning strike could only show the serious damage much later. Frightening!

    Perhaps now you have a chance to plant a deliberate choice for your office window?


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