Photo above taken January 31, 2000 – the day our offer was accepted on this house. The fence installed by the previous owners was nice and straight, and the retaining wall was in decent shape. You can see just how many trees were located right along our property lines on both sides – most of our yard was covered in the summer by branches.
Our neighbor to the east of us was born and raised in that house, one of six children. When we bought our house in 2000, his mom was still alive and living there with her other adult son. That son liked to work on cars, and always had one pulled up in the yard. His mother died a few years after E was born (she used to always bring over a birthday card), that son bought his own house, and the other son (our current neighbor) moved in to the old family home. There are four adult sisters as well – but they live in other states, and aren’t around much.
We’ve always been on good terms with the family – they are quiet and friendly, deeply loyal to the house, and although it’s old and could use some significant updates, it’s neat and tidy, well loved and cared for. There’s a huge elm tree a few feet from our fence that has been in rough shape as long as we’ve lived here – it constantly drops dead limbs in our yard, but our neighbor is always picking them up and cutting back threatening ones that hang over the fence.
The photo above was taken this past summer, when we were starting to disassemble the porches on our house. This photo really illustrates what that tree looked like in the summer – it was like a mini-forest of offshoots at the trunk, but there were whole sections of the upper portion that were dead.
The location of the tree has always been problematic, but we’ve never been too bothered by its condition or the falling branches because we honestly don’t use the backyard that much. But the roots are out of control – they are huge, and are above ground in many places – you can see in the old photo above how much they interfered with the fence. The ripples in that fence just got worse over time. The excavation for our new garage was going to impact at least 40% of the roots of this tree, which was only going to speed its demise. And nobody wants to watch this beast topple over – it would take out our new construction and probably a few other neighbors in the process! It’s truly a massive tree.
The negotiation period wasn’t fun, but we got there. We offered to cover the entire cost of its removal, and included a generous replacement tree fund as well for a nice tree to be planted AWAY from the fence line!! It took a few months to get there, but in January it finally came down.
It looks really strange back there, and to be honest – it wasn’t a lot of fun to watch that tree come down. We love trees, and I know that our neighbors have a lot of memories tied up in their house and yard. I hope that in a few years the transformation back here will be really lovely, and we’ll see beautiful greens again. We did it in the front yard – fingers crossed we can pull it off again back here!