I often joke about the joys of homeownership. Surprise. You have to take out a huge concrete staircase because someone attached it to your foundation (recap here). Surprise. You have sewer water in your basement (recap here). But the latest one circa yesterday was a doozie. As in surprise, the humongous tree in your yard cracked in half and fell on your neighbor’s yard. Seriously homeownership gods? What did we ever do to you? The theme of all of these unfortunate events we’ve experienced in our house is that they are not only very inconvenient but very expensive to take care of. This one takes the cake by far. Sad face.
Here’s what our beautiful silver maple used to look like.
And here’s a better view of the size. It’s the one to the right of the garage in this front view of the house. It’s actually so big you can see very little sky behind it.
After one loud crack yesterday morning, we were left with this. Split in half right down the middle and fell to the ground. With a deafening boom that scared the living daylights out of me.
After I scrambled out of the house with my heart beating out of my chest, I saw this. It basically covered our neighbor’s yard causing me to frantically run around looking for her since she is often outside gardening in her backyard. No one answered at the door, and I didn’t see any sign of anyone being home so I hoped and prayed that she wasn’t home. I also conferred with another neighbor who came running who agreed that she must not be home. And then I made Dain crawl around there and make sure when he came home. It turns out she was out for the morning, which we are so thankful for since she would have been crushed.
Once we knew everyone was safe, then that sinking feeling set in that we were going to have to take care of this a.s.a.p. at a hefty price tag. If you’ve never had any trees taken down, you may not know that it is not cheap. Large trees are easily a couple of thousand dollars to remove or more.
The good news is that it didn’t hit our neighbor’s house, but it came pretty darn close with the branches brushing up against her back windows. The bad news in that is that homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover a dime of it unless there is property damage or injury. Obviously. So we spent our Tuesday calling tree services to get estimates on the removal of this beast from everyone’s yard once and for all. And while it would have been possible to clean up only the half that fell, it wouldn’t have been safe to leave the rest of the tree like that since it obviously had some structural defects so to speak. And if the other half fell, it would land right on our garage.
So we knew we had to take the whole thing out. Someone joked (we think) that Dain should be able to take it down himself since he’s such a DIYer. We wish. Here’s an idea for you about how big this tree is. Check out Dain underneath it.
Yes, it is big since Dain stands at 6 feet tall. The base of the tree itself is five feet wide. After making a lot of calls and getting a few estimates, we resigned ourselves to the fact that we had to part with a huge chunk of change just like that. Tear. Our retaining wall we had been saving up for may have to wait until next year. And we’re not even going to take out the stump since that would cost even more. So now we will have a huge stump to deal with. Yay. But it is what it is. They’re coming tomorrow to take her down, and then we’ll be able to see the rest of the damage in our neighbor’s yard. We’re pretty sure two or three of her evergreens are toast so we’ll have to take those out and replace them along with some smaller plants and pots probably. Luckily, our neighbor is incredibly nice about all of this since she is the one with a huge tree covering her yard.
We’ll also have to rehab some of our garden and yard since they are moving a pretty large truck in there which they warned us will cause some damage. The only bright spot was this cool picture Dain took, which ironically is of another nearby treetastrophe that occurred before we moved in. Think drunk driver barreling down the hill and crashing into a boat that was in the driveway. We’re pretty sure half of this tree took the brunt of that fire so we might take this one down eventually too.
We ended up printing out a list of licensed tree trimming and removal contractors from the St. Louis Park city website as a starting point for finding someone to help us. Ironically, the tree service we chose sent out a certified arborist with the same (very unique) name as the Irish priest who married us so we took it as a sign. And they get an A+ with the BBB so that’s also a plus. We’ll fill you in with the aftermath of the removal. Have you ever had a treetastrophe? Or some other kind of unexpected house problem that ends up costing an arm and a leg? Welcome to homeownership.