Witness to the Execution


Readers may recall that the large Silver Maple across the street from WC’s house had received a death warrant. The execution occurred today. First, a reminder of just how big this tree was.

Norwegian Maple, N. 20the Street and Alturas Street, Boise

Norwegian Maple, N. 20the Street and Alturas Street, Boise

It was likely more than 100-110 years old and more than 100 feet tall. But it was deemed a hazard. And likely was. The execution crew arrived about 9:30 AM on September 19. Nine crew members, a crane, a man lift, a huge chipper, a very large dumpster truck for the trunk pieces, a forklift to load them, and six (!) chain saws, including one with a 48″ blade.

Still mostly intact

Still mostly intact

Big trees like this are cut from the top down, with the pieces held by crane cables while they are cut.

Lowering the top of the west fork

Lowering the top of the west fork

The pieces were lowered to the ground, limbed and the bucked into 15-20 foot lengths.

Topping the East Fork

Topping the East Fork

It’s all very orderly efficient and very, very loud.

Chipping limbs

Chipping limbs

The size of the limbs they ran through the chipper was astonishing. This one was at least eight inches in diameter.

Chipping an 8" diameter limb. The noise is incredible.

Chipping an 8″ diameter limb. The noise is incredible.

Gradually, in 20-30 foot long pieces, they brought the tree down.

Another chunk topped from the main trunk

Another chunk topped from the main trunk

 

Starting on the two main trunks

Taking down the two main trunks

As they worked their way down the tree, they used larger cable and switched to the bigger hook on the crane.

Loading one of the two lower trunks

Loading one of the two lower trunks

The small loader actually tipped forward when it lifted this log, and had to push itself back upright.

A very large, very heavy stump

A very large, very heavy stump

You can see that the center of the Silver Maple stump was indeed rotted out. Note the death warrant still stapled to the side of the tree.

About three tons of tree, no counting the chipped parts.

About three tons of tree, not counting the chipped parts.

The trunks will be dried, split and sold as firewood. The chips will be dried and sold as mulch.

An impressive stump

An impressive stump

You can see that 40-50% of the base of the tree was rotted out. The sound wood on the south side – the part nearest WC’s house – had only about 2 inches of sound wood.

Because, science. Of course WC measured the diameter

Because, science. Of course WC measured the diameter

Just under seven feet at the widest point. At least 100 years old; it was big enough in 1913 that the sidewalk was poured around it.

It was a quick execution. One hour and fifteen minutes from arrival to completion of cleanup and departure.

Now there’s a visual gap on the north side of Alturas Street. It’s the visual equivalent to a missing tooth. You can’t stop looking. In the spring the big stump will be ground out, soil placed there and Kim, whose house adjoined the tree, will get to pick a new tree from an approved list.

R.I.P. Silver Maple, 1890(?) – 2019.

Advertisements

One thought on “Witness to the Execution

  1. Nice photo essay!
    Just as a point of…interjecting myself into a blog, I suppose…WC may remember we had a white spruce tree close enough to the front of our house that the house deck was built around it.

    So when the farther half of its split shape succumbed to winter snows, that left its other half imbalanced and a real hazard to the house. Up the man-basket of a friend’s 65-foot crane I went, chainsaw in hand.

    But NOT one with a 48” blade! Yowza.

    Judging the balance of each 12-15’ section of tree was an art…thank goodness we got each one correct, as that is a helluva swath of destruction – potentially slamming the crane’s mast – if judged wrong.

    A similar skid steer also came into play once all was safely down – but no chipper. The whole tree went into the wood stove, 22 inches at a time.

    I was mightily pleased with the results, but haven’t any plans to forge a new career as a foretopman.

Comments are closed.