The tree surgeons have arrived


Last Thursday the tree surgeons arrived, two days earlier than originally planned, in order to prepare for Monday’s ErDF disconnection of the mains electricity which runs across the site. I had already decided to make a flying visit, arriving on Sunday (on hand for Monday just in case of issues) and staying for two nights. Sadly this meant cutting short a weekend with some of my oldest friends but that couldn’t be avoided (and as I haven’t missed one in 25 years I hope I will be forgiven).

It was necessary to involve ErDF because a number of the trees overhung the mains power supply and we didn’t want our activity to compromise that or to create safety issues for our contractors.

On arrival at the house I immediately noticed signs of activity, but little if any cut down wood or branches.

Heavy kit
Low loader
Big footprints
A former weeping willow, rotten to the core

I was later to discover that the guys like to take away the wood and brash each day if possible, using their “Ben”.

Steve checked whether the roses were precious before reversing over them!
This was supposed to be the start of a video but I’d clicked on ‘photo’ rather than ‘video’
And this should have been the end of the video …

On Monday morning the guys arrived, Matt with whom I was first in contact, Steve his associate who also does ground works and brings much of the heavy machinery, and Steve’s son Eddie. First things first for them:

Coffee set out under the covered terrace (cool, cloudy, some rain forecast)


Shortly after 9am, ErDF (previously EDF) arrived in force with 3-4 vehicles and a team of about 8 people, both male and female, some being on the team to take the opportunity to cut back some trees further up the line in an adjoining field.

ErDF teamleader and his cherry picker
ErDF cherry picker in action, disconnecting the mains electricity
The vehicles line up …
The lines down

Until the ErDF team arrived on site it wasn’t clear whether they would be able to do more than simply switch off the supply. This section of line feeds about 6 properties and we’d received an email some weeks ago pre-warning that the supply would be interrupted. That was a welcome email as it was the first (and only!) formal written confirmation that something would happen, although I should stress that the ErDF people (liaised with by Steve) were incredibly helpful and efficient once the right man had been located. The very good news was that the team-leader was prepared not only to switch off the supply but also to remove the lines altogether for a period of time. Although ErDF had originally said the supply would be disconnected for six hours (9.30am to 3.30pm) the team-leader told us on arrival that he could only be there until 11.30am as he then had to move on to another appointment. It was suspected that appointment might have been his favourite lunchtime restaurant … Nevertheless, having the lines removed altogether for a period of time gave the tree surgeons the opportunity to drop a number of the trees whole and thus save considerable time and ensure that the area around the lines was completely cleared during this very short window.

I wanted to include some video clips at this point but find that I need to learn how to upload to YouTube and then embed the urls in WordPress. Perhaps if I can quickly do that over the next few days I’ll write a mini-sequel to this post. I have one or two video clips that show the drama of the morning rather well. Here’s a picture of Matt on his cherry picker at furthest extent which gives an indication of the scale. A number of the trees were already down by that time.

Matt on his cherry picker part way up 100 feet tall trees (perhaps I should say 30 metres but 100 feet somehow sounds rather more impressive!)

We have also made the decision to take out a few of the ornamental trees including the paper mulberry which is an interesting oddity but in our climate far too dangerous in terms of its pioneer habits (otherwise known as rampant suckering).

Taking all these trees down may seem like wanton destruction. But all the trees coming out are either diseased, damaged, dying, or simply long past their best. So we decided to make the brave decision at the outset to avoid problems at a later stage and give us a clean slate for new planting.

The pile of trunks is growing
Debris from some fig and cherry trees that were badly disfigured

We will be planting many new trees in the next months and years which will be far more suitable for the location and purpose of the property. I’ve not had much opportunity to plant trees before so making the right selections will be an interesting and exciting challenge.

And, finally, the sun came out on Tuesday so the guys were able to move their coffee/lunch place back out from under the covered terrace.


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