Z feels oaky (not a typo)

There’s a row of lovely Scots pines between the roadside hedge and the front field. They’re westward from the house, so their silhouette looks wonderful at sunset. However, the soil there is very poor – flint, gravel and sand – and they’ve never grown very tall. I mean, they’re clearly decent sized trees, but nothing near the size you might expect of trees that are at least 70 years old.

Once in a while, one of them has fallen down and this happened in the last strong wind. Luckily, they’ve always fallen towards the field rather than the road. Wince came in and said he’d been to investigate and it had uprooted itself and the roots looked rotten. I panicked a bit and emailed Tom the Tree Surgeon, who did such excellent work on the old oak tree in March 2020 (it was just before lockdown, literally that week). He was on holiday then, so has only just come today.

In short, 8 of them are beyond hope. The good news is that they lean slightly into the field, so are unlikely to fall onto the road, but the roots of those ones are in poor condition, so they’ll fall sooner or later. He’s going to come back in January and take them down. I hope that the extra space might be good for the ones that are left, but it’s wishful thinking really. He was surprised they’re the age that they are, he’d have expected them to be much taller and it shows how poor the soil is, as I said. i think the drought last year finally scuppered them. I told him about the Virginia creeper that died and he thinks that’s probably old age.

He’s doing the entire job for £550, which I think is very reasonable. We talked about the old oak tree and that it really was sensitively pruned at just the right time. With the storms we’ve had, I’m sure big branches would have fallen recently. As it is, he took a lot of weight off the crown, being careful not to spoil the shape and it’s been absolutely beautiful this year, when we had a fairly wet summer. At about 450 years old, it’s in its prime but will need care in the future.

A bit like me, then – okay, past my prime, but judicious pruning, in the shape of new hips, put me right until old age catches up with me.

2 comments on “Z feels oaky (not a typo)

  1. Blue Witch

    6 years ago we paid more than that to have one oak tree lightly pruned. And that was a ‘cash’ price (as we could not believe the real price; I don’t like cash prices, but needs must sometimes).

    Round here they charge £1,000 to fell one tree, chop it up and leave the logs and chippings, more if you want the latter removed from site. Luckily we have no trees needing chopping,

    In my next life, if I’m not a vet or a solicitor, I shall be a tree surgeon, but maybe not in your area.

    1. Z Post author

      He charged £700 to sort out the oak – he apologised that he had to hire a cherry picker, but there wasn’t a strong upright trunk to work from and it wouldn’t have been safe. The tree was widely spread out, which was the problem – one huge bough had fallen, a year and a half before the Sage died and, as he was ill, we didn’t get around to having it dealt with. It meant that there was a lot of weight on one side, as well as a bit of rot where the branch had come off. He left the logs, chipped everything else on site and took it away. He’s a qualified tree surgeon and landscape gardener, but hasn’t time for the latter nowadays.
      He emailed this afternoon to say he had a cancellation, so he’s coming next week.


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