One of my favorite backyard projects in Berkeley: a house a few blocks from us that has (or shares) a stand of big eucalyptus trees (gum trees if you’re speaking Strine). Some time ago–two or three or four years ago, or maybe more than that–someone took it into their head to take down one of the trees. There are crews around here that do that work. We hired one to take down our big Monterey pine when it was sick and near giving up the ghost. The people who do this are experts, and it’s both breathtaking and a little heart-breaking to see how quickly they can bring a tree down. Since they’re working in the middle of the city and simply felling the tree is not an option, they start at the top and take it down in pieces. For really big jobs, crews use cranes to lower sectiions of the tree to the ground, where workers cut them up with chainsaws.

Someone tried that approach on the tree here, but they went about it in a somewhat crazy way. Instead of moving up the tree with a belt and sling apparatus, they lashed a series of ladders to the trunk to gain access to the upper limbs. It must have been a hair-raising climb. Whoever was attempting this feat of urban forestry gave up after lopping off some big branches (they never got into the crown of the tree. As I said, that was years ago. But the partly dismembered tree and ladders remain. (Click the image for a larger version.)

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