Skip to main content

So Long Birch Tree - I Hardly Knew Ye

Six or seven years ago a little ranch style house in the neighborhood had a clump of birch trees in their front yard.  I loved the look, so off to Hewitt's I went, about an hour later 173 had a birch tree with three main limbs.

See that little stub of a stump to the right of the two main limbs (or would they be considered trunks?)?  That was the remnant of the third limb.  It had grown way too close to horizontal, so we put in a fence post and tied the limb to it in an effort to get it to grow more vertical.  After a year or more of being supported, the limb was released and it immediately went to its old position - horizontal.  We're pretty aggressive with the plant life around here, so out to the shed, tree saw, and maybe five minutes later we were down to two limbs.  Of course being repurposers, a new use was found for a good length of that limb:
There it is...supporting the bird house behind the bench!  Anyway, I digress.  The point is this...when I put the birch trees in, I had done no research on them.  Sometime last year I heard someone talking about their foundation and that tree roots had destroyed it.  I casually asked, gee - what kind of tree did that?  I thought for sure the answer would be a willow.  After all, who hasn't heard the horrible stories of damaged pipes and foundations caused by the water-seeking willow?  Imagine my chagrin when the answer came back - birch tree!
Notice I said this conversation took place sometime last year. So no, panic didn't set in.  BUT, the research began immediately, and in earnest!  Let me save you the chore of looking at a thousand different websites, they all pretty much say the same thing:
To double in area every year and build the underground web to support rapid top growth, roots have to grow fast. Substantial white birch roots fill the area around the tree and probe cracks in barriers, including concrete. The tree’s aggressive roots seek water, prying open cracks or joints in sewer or irrigation systems. Birch roots, along with willow and poplar, are among the most aggressive -- and destructive -- tree roots.  - SF GATE  
So, nearly a year later, and with great sorrow, the birch trees came down.  And unceremoniously.  Ten minutes and they were gone.  After an hour, all the branches and leaves fit into three yard bags and they were at the curb.  Just like that.
The birches will be missed.  This picture shows that they were just getting to the point where they were providing some nice evening shade:
But it had to be done.  On the upside, the Bradford pear tree on the right in the picture below is beginning to mature and in the next couple years will certainly provide some shade.
The other benefit is that it certainly opens up the yard:
And as the exterior of 173 continues to improve, I guess that'll be okay too!


Popular posts from this blog

Made at 173: Dining Room Table

OK, so this table wasn't exactly made at 173, but it was re-done!  Bear with me a minute.  For years the dining room was just missing something...
I know, it's not Christmas, but you know, with all the pictures taken around here, there just isn't a clean shot of the dining room...this was the closest.  But it gives you an idea - there's no table!  It's been that way ever since the previous family was here... Huh.  Just dawned on me...that's a Christmas picture too.  Anyway, just hadn't put a table in there.  For the longest time we just weren't sure what kind of table belonged.  There are so many choices out there! Seriously though, I think it was always destined to be a pedestal table.  But there were  had to have an interesting build, it had to have a leaf, and it could NOT be oak!  So that really put limitations on what kind of table 173 would have. It wasn't even on the radar (although it was kinda always on the radar) for a din…

The Back Stoop - Done! (Well, for the most part)

As a reminder, when I started the back stoop, which seems like forever ago, it looked like this:
So it was time.  At the end of the last post, the stoop was looking like: It was getting there.  Really, all I had to do was paint, but if you know me - I......hate.....painting!  Stain on the floorboards and two coats of B-I-N primer, and two coats of paint later, here it was (of course Linus supervised throughout): Oh, just a quick step backward - here's the stoop without the doors.  As you can see the mower and some other things are stored below: What you can't see here is that the storage runs the entire length of the back porch, more storage is always good!  Anyway, I showed you in the first post about the stoop that I had built the doors, so all that was left was to paint them (of course - ugh) and hang them.   Aaahhhhhh, so much better - or was it?  The pad outside the stoop looked like, well Ma will be reading this so - it looked like (insert your own word).  I hate when y…

The Kitchen - Part 3: Walls

The walls were solid, but paint was peeling everywhere, and there were some rough spots throughout...
If you look closely at the picture above (and below for that matter, you can see the spackle in pink.  And, this next picture shows where there was a large dip in the wall that leads to the dining room.  It was significant enough that it made the ceiling look horrible, and I had to put so much spackle on that I figured I better put some tape in it: I used this stuff: I liked it because it went on pink, and when it was dry it turned white, taking the guessing game out of it.  Besides that, as to quality - well, it worked just like any spackling I suppose. Then there was the area behind the stove - what a mess.  All these years there was this big piece of metal on the wall behind the stove, and a large piece of melamine on the wall next to it: And here's the sheet of metal behind it: Luckily it all came off pretty easily, but how ugly is that glue? Only one thing to do - cover it: I…