De-Treeing my Driveway

Posted 2012.03.13 11.18 in Family/Friends by Stephanie

About 7 or 8 years ago, I had this little tree start growing in my driveway. It wasn’t like right in the middle – it would have gotten run over. No, it was tucked off to the side, at the edge of the driveway, right by the side of my house.

Now, I’m no greenthumb. Indeed, I have a pretty good track record of killing every plant I’ve tried to grow. So when something green comes along and acts lively and hardy without any help from me, I’m usually all for it.

This was a bit different though. I know that it’s not good for the house. I worried about the foundation. After a couple short years, I had a sapling of about a dozen feet in height, 2 or 3 inches thick at the base. I cut it down. I hated to do it, but it had to be done.

That was five years ago.

The tree immediately grew back, and grew back fast. At times, you could see it was getting bigger almost daily.

Last Summer

By last summer it was easily 20 feet tall, and the trunk about 8 inches across at the base.

Amazed (and amused) I did some research and determined that it was most likely a Siberian Elm – a tree that is almost universally disliked and despised by landscapers and gardenists, because of its unruly and unkempt canopy. Its only redeeming feature was that it grows to maturity really, really fast.

Back to the narrative at hand, so here I am with my driveway tree again. I can see it’s damaging the eaves. I suspect it’s damaging the roof. And I fear it’s damaging the foundation. Once again, the neighbors are telling me to cut it down. I resist, I hate killing trees. And I respect a tree that I’ve already killed once but it came back.

Five Rings

It came to a head this past autumn though – my next-door neighbor and I share a driveway area and we had agreed to get it repaved. That meant the tree had to go. I procrastinated a few months but couldn’t put it off any further, so last week I asked my sister to come over to spot me while I cut it down.

I went through my old camping gear and dug out the old swiss-saw, and we got to work.

Surprisingly (and happily) it all came down pretty much as planned. It had branched about 6ft off the ground, so we took off the two main side-limbs first, then the middle one. Nobody got hurt and no property damage was inflicted on anything.

Attacking the Trunk

Finally we removed the main part of the trunk, though the lowest we could get was roughly 8 or 10 inches above the ground.

So now, my driveway is treeless, but for a stump, and I have a huge pile of wood and branches in my backyard to be dealt with later in the spring.