When we bought this house we were told that the beautiful, huge Japanese Maple in our backyard was worth tens of thousands of dollars. Since it was in the way of our upcoming addition, we were so excited about the possibility of it paying for our project. Well, no one would be surprised that the "selling your tree" business took a hit during the recession. So, a very expensive tree in now worth $0. Because of budget constraints, probably our initial response would have been to cut down the tree. But, since my Dad would start to weep every time he thought about the demise of the tree and we had been told it is a "museum quality tree", we thought we would try to save it. After many people coming to see it and giving us their expert opinion, we all determined that we had three options: 1) pay a large sum to hand dig out the tree (the machine needed to get a large enough rootball couldn't fit into our backyard), 2) use the tree for firewood, or 3) use the largest machine we could get back there (a backhoe) and pray. Wanting to give it a good college try, we decided to ask the backhoe operator to dig up the tree before digging out the footers. After agreeing on the price, the date was set for him to come and remove two of our trees. His jaw dropped when he rounded the corner and saw how big it really was. But, not to be outdone, he was up to the challenge - but only for an hour. He said that he wasn't going to spend all day on this crazy idea (but he was a believer after the job was done). The tree was so big and heavy that it broke the strap when they tried to pick it up the first time. And it was barely lifted off the ground when they used chains. They had to drag it into position. But, it is up now and looks beautiful. We still might have to go with option 2, but at least we tried. **oh, and look for the very, very dangerous job that Joe was given! ;) **
Starting the dig with blue lines drawn for the footers (from the den)
They were so close to the house. Yikes!!!
Here is the tree after being removed from the ground. Look at those roots!!
Here is the upended tree, next to the Crepe Myrtle that we also had to move. After getting the kids ready for "nap time" I noticed Joe on the very top of a ladder with a circular saw cutting off the top of the branches. Not sure who gave him this job, but he said that he quickly told everyone to get away from the base of tree for their safety!! ;)
Dragging the tree into place
Footers dug after putting the tree upright. See it in it's right place?!
The pair of survivors