November 11, 2009

When I bought the place, there were no two windows the same size, and Wayne Hyatt, who first raised the false ceilings, replaced many windows, adding a  beautiful bay window, discovered that when the previous owners added rooms, each one had a less sharp degree of fall, and the heavy beautiful snow here, slid slower on each addition.  The second one had a reverse arch roof, which apparently didn’t work, so a slanted roof was added to encourage the snow to drop off, ruining what could have been a usable attic storage space, because that reversible arch was left and is still there.

Then, many years ago, two maple trees were planted at the two western corners of the house.  These were imported, not native to the area, and grew much less strong than our native maples.  In the second oldest and next lowest addition, an inexpensive wood burner was needed and added, with an eight inch stove pipe through the roof.  Prior to my purchase, this had caused a fire, because there was no space between the stove pipe and the roof support lumber, and the roof was rebuilt. 

I bought a more expensive Vermont Built Earth Stove, a professional installer was recommended, and when he recommended an insulated stove pipe be installed through the ceiling, because the exhaust pipe present was touching wooden framing, I paid the big bucks, was thankful we hadn’t had a fire.  To support the big three walled insulated stove pipe that extended way above the roof level, he added supporting steel rods, anchored into the wooden roof, built over the inverted arch roof, that was re-roofed with a low level flatter roof, that the WEAKER NON-NATIVE maple tree leaves fall on and don’t slide off, and the WEAKER NON-NATIVE MAPLE TREE limbs also fell on at least  one of the supporting steel rods, probably causing some of the leaking in that portion of the roof and ceiling that I have needed to repair because the inside ceiling in that room seems to be sagging, because of moisture.

My professional carpenter company recommended pruning and cutting back some of the limbs that threaten the roof, and drop lots of leaves onto the low angled roof in the fall, that don’t fall from that portion of the roof.  I had added wooden supports under rods after past good sized limbs had fallen, to strengthen them.  Gary, my banker and good friend, said, “Why are you adding the support, those limbs are gone, now?”  I hate to kill a tree, even a second class, non native one.

I am going to call an arborist.  Arborists are employed by some tree companies, and their presence advertised usually in the Yellow Pages.  Arborists are the cream of tree trimming specialists.  They are highly educated, trained and experienced.  Many people, unfortunately, with a chain saw, a rope, a ladder, and a pickup, can drive through our neighborhoods, see a sick looking tree, knock on the owners’ door, say, “That tree needs to be removed or it will fall on your house!” and charge big bucks in advance – and may do a competent job.  Usually Arborists will do a free estimate, tell the home owner what their company would charge, and leave it up to the owner to decide.  I have always recommended the home owner choose the advertising tree company with an Arborist on staff.  They may have to wait for him to arrive, but they will tell you when he would be able to assess your tree problem.

Arborists are tested and licensed by the State.  They and the operations of their company are insured.  They would like you to ask to see their license and insurance because they spent a lot of time, work, and study to be qualified as an Arborist, and I am proud of their existence and availability.  They are very competent, busy, and valuable.  Unfortunately, there are fewer in most cities today than there used to be, because we have more poor big trees that might be the trees that smarter people would NOT want to plant today, and chain saws and pickups are not too expensive.  Even I have both, and I know and recommend Arborists highly, and have as a Master Gardener answering consumer tree questions.

Mudrack Tree Service, in north western Fort Wayne, serves north eastern Indiana and Michigan.  Yellow pages list available arborists in your area.  I recommend you use and respect them and their time, after you inspect their credentials.  I called them, one of their arborists came out, and they are going to prune out the dead limbs, and thin out two trees when the soil freezes.  My favorite friend will take the biggest limbs, and cut down my ugly, more dangerous, third problem tree.  He will make firewood out of the burnable wood, and I will gather and burn the smaller branches in my legal burning area. 

Arborists almost love to have you ask for their credentials!!  They love trees, and could work for big forests and lumber companies and not have to face and explain to idiots like ME!  Use them wisely.  I hate to say anything bad about any maple tree, but the variety of maple now threatening (after dropping two sizable limbs on my house in the past 20 years, costing big bucks to repair), may soon be hearing the rasping sound of a CHAIN SAW! Any arborist knows the name of that variety of maple, and so do I, but I won’t tell you, because if you are reading this column, you probably are old too, and might cut down a strong, healthy, beautiful maple!  Call an Arborist!  I still have a wood burner in my shop, my son-in-law has our old Vermont made Earth Stove.  I may just give most of the wood away!  I will collect and burn the twigs and small branches.   I just love living in the country in 2009, and hope and pray that the wonderful recovery continues, and I haven’t directly received any stimulus money!  .  .  good gardening

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