Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tale of the Disappearing Tree

One of John's assignments this summer is to remove Russian olive trees. Why? you ask. The tree is native to western Asia and was introduced into the central and western area of the United States. Today it is defined as an invasive species:

The Russian olive, with its tendency to spread quickly, is a menace to riparian woodlands, threatening strong, native species like cottonwood and willow trees. They are responsible for out competing a lot of native vegetation, interfering with natural plant succession and nutrient cycling and choking irrigation canals and marshlands in the western United States. This displacement of native plant species and critical wildlife habitats has undoubtedly affected native birds and other species. The heavy, dense shade of the Russian olive is also responsible for blocking out sunlight needed for other trees and plants in fields, open woodlands and forest edges. Overall, areas dominated by the Russian olive do not represent a high concentration of wildlife. (http://www.columbia.edu/itc/cerc/danoff-burg/invasion_bio/inv_spp_summ/Elaeagnus_angustifolia.htm)

What does it take to remove a tree? This is what it looked like as John began working Monday.

The nearby wildlife pond is surrounded by these trees.

John used a chain saw to removed branches and hauled them away from the tree.

If the branches were fairly large, he had to cut them up.

Slowly, the olive tree is cut up and pulled out, revealing a small willow tree and a cedar tree.

All the branches are loaded into a dump truck.

Five truck-loads of branches were hauled to the dump from the one tree and one more load of branches must be picked up Saturday.

Almost done! The original large tree has been removed. Another tree behind there is still standing. The small Russian olive on the left was removed before the end of the day.

And then there is the stump to remove.

It takes an awful lot of work to make just one tree disappear.

1 comment:

  1. Well, he's certainly earning his keep. With you laid up, does he have to work twice as hard?