Monday, 13 August 2012

Demolishing The Pear Tree

I have a friend who has a 60's era ex-govie (government built house). The house is a rectangular block, north facing, well set back from the kerb. For some reason the sewer connection does not take the direct route down the eastern side, but instead runs along the back, down the west side and then diagonally across the front garden. This piece of 60's lack of forethought could have yielded endless problems with tree roots, but amazingly there was just one.

Some time after the house was built, but long before my friend bought it, someone planted an ornamental pear at the N-W corner, right on top of the sewer line. The tree had now grown past the gutter and was interfering with the sewer. Sometimes you can get round this if the roots invading the sewer are secondary, but in this case it was almost certainly the tap root that was the problem.

So she asked me to help her get rid of the tree. Initially I thought it would be a job for an arborist, but a closer inspection suggested that maybe we could do it ourselves. Enter the essential tool:

Here in the Berra you can take green waste to the recycling centre for free provided you don't take anything bigger than 100mm diameter or 4m long. Since the two trunks and the lower branches were bigger than 100mm they would have to be chopped into chunks and periodically included in the household waste collection.

So I bought an electric chainsaw and, despite never having previously used a chainsaw, in 45 minutes I had reduced the tree to a pile of branches and a pile of logs. At which point she could pour a small amount of Glyphosate on the stumps to kill the roots.

The trouble is: I really enjoyed it. Previously I'd been daunted by fat branches because they're pretty laborious with a hand saw. But with a chainsaw: BRRRAAAP! Clunk! BRRRAAAP! Clunk. Job done. (Yes, Petunia, even electric chainsaws make a lot of noise).

Now, instead of admiring trees for their foliage or their sturdy trunks, I look at them as targets. Which can be a problem in the Berra as we have something like 750,000 trees on public land and at least that many in private gardens. I think I'm addicted; I hope it's just temporary.