The Unkindest Cut?

We plod on towards our property purchase, ticking off surveys as we go. We are tantalisingly close to exchanging contracts. I dare not hope too much in case if falls at the final hurdle. Nevertheless today I allowed myself to take another step along the road by doing a ‘site visit’ with a tree surgeon.

The land has a number of trees that are closer to the house than we would like. One I learned is a larch and this one is not in a good state. Another is a cedar that blocks a considerable amount of light. A second unidentified tree poses some risks and should come down. Two smaller trees of no ecological value will come out under our ownership. The big tree would cost £370 to deal with. Not too bad.

I would be minded to replace each of these with smaller native species. We have established that none of the trees is in a conservation and none has a TPO on it. I would brief the neighbours as a matter of common courtesy.

The branches would be chipped and removed. The trunks would be cut and made suitable for “our” wood burner. You see how my plans are running away from me.

I am keen to start a documentary blog on the garden and its natural history. I have identified a ‘trail camera’ that I can leave out overnight.

The last two days have been hallmarked by mind-numbingly boring trips to bathroom, kitchen, flooring and tiling shops. Why is that Mrs. Ha only likes the most expensive of everything? We had a 3 hour planning session with the builder even before we exchange! The idea is that we hit the road running at completion.Once (if?) we have exchanged I will start ordering the serious stuff like a new moth trap for surveying.

There has been little time for much else. Mrs. Ha continues to find the transition easy. She loves the big hypermarkets as there is much greater choice than in HK at far lower prices on the whole. The weather seems a non-issue. Lulu is well settled and back on full throttle. I was shell-shocked at paying £3 for my Weekend FT. Otherwise not much has surprised me. It is such a joy not to have to deal with HK traffic.

I am hopelessly behind with my blog and yours. This may continue yet awhile. On Monday I will transfer the deposit monies to the solicitor so we can move immediately once the other side is ready and insurance is in place. It is starting to feel real. I am unhappy to cut down the trees but it really does make sense.


23 thoughts on “The Unkindest Cut?

  1. Those are tough decisions but I admire your decision to replace them with natives. I think you are wise to plan to cut them right away. I have too many that I learned to live with, and now have little light coming in.
    I think your garden blog will be super~I’m looking forward to it. So glad Mrs. HA isn’t bothered by the climate. I did wonder about that. What a lovely smile she has, in the snow photo you shared a few posts back. (I’m falling behind, as well.)

  2. Yes, I’ve had to have trees down, a eucalyptus next to the house, and a birch in the border. Better safe than sorry. On the other hand, a well planted oak at the bottom of the garden, in a safe place, is going strong and I imagine will do for years to come. Good luck with your purchase.

  3. Tree surgeons can do a great job, we’ve had to lose trees in the past and it’s amazing how quickly other foliage takes over so that there is no gaping hole. Alternatively, a massive pruning can work wonders , creating a shape you never thought was possible.
    Keeping fingers and toes crossed for you that all goes well.
    Oh, and the answer to why Mrs Ha always seems to go for the expensive – you just can’t put a price on good taste 😄

  4. Sorry to be so late to comment. I’ve had malware and viruses up the kazoo on my computer. I thought that I had run all of the programs but some do not run on auto and I finally called Costco. I was on the phone with the a 21 year old from Michigan who really knew his job. He was a “higher up” and I asked him to look inside my computer which was totally messed up from the junk that had attached itself to my poor little ole Windows 7 HP.

    Anyhow, I hope all goes good for you and Mrs. Ha and that you’ll soon be the owners of place that can become a wildlife haven.

    Oh, and sometimes certain trees just have to be cut down. Don’t feel bad about that at all, especially if they are non- natives. Save the logs for firewood as Steve has written. That is if you have a wood burning stove. 🙂

    • We will have a wood burner Yvonne. I’m sorry your PC plays up so much. It’s good you can find someone to sort it out. I’m useless with technology and use ‘trial and error’ / usually error – to find out what to do to fix things. Wildlife is much more fun.

  5. Make sure to get a good wood splitter, a hydrolic 20ton minimum. You’ll love building up a nicely stacked wood-pile next to the shed. Also a good wheel-barrow. Don’t hold back.

  6. PS – this is what pays my rent. House permitting and tree inch return to newly built houses.

  7. As a licensed ISA aborist, be sure your landscaper knows your wishes to have native trees. Make sure they install correctly. Show them my post! If you want me to read thru anything, I’d be more than happy to help. Freshly mulched trees are bad for mulch, it must be aged a bit.

  8. I’m really enjoying your posts as you settle in. This home and property sound quite spectacular and will be more so when you get your hands on it. Please continue to share this wonderful experience … of course with lots of photos 🙂

  9. Sounds to me as though you are going to need a bodging lathe. Hundreds of hours spent quietly turning out table lamps from cedar branches all powered by a strappy sapling or, in the modern world, a chest expander. You may initially prefer the chipping option but think of all that scent of newly turned green wood….and maybe a complete set of bannister rails!

    Here’s to the exchange of contracts.

    • Maybe I could make Lulu a luxury bodged kennel. My father had a lathe in his workshop but he turned metal not wood. Clock parts not table lamps.

  10. Yes, sometimes the trees just have to go. I am still really upset that a line of palm trees which provided shade to our apartments have been cut down. Now the apartment is really hot. It was the landlord’s decision and he didn’t tell any of us about it. I think he just didn’t want to deal with the maintenance. Now that is an unkind cut for you.

  11. I am finding your immediate future, sans roadblocks in the exchange, quite exciting. With far more land of your own than in HK, I am sure you will be ticking off species at quite a rapid pace to start and for a while longer as word gets out among the various lepidopteran and avian species that a friend has moved in. It sounds as though Mrs. Ha will be enjoying a fair amount of shopping for the new home as well as other sundries and the lower prices should please the family cheque writer. And the garden and its documentary is exciting also.

    As far as the trees go, when we first bought our property my attitude was that I was also buying some trees to enjoy and had no intention of taking them down. But after a strong storm, the reality of the potential for some sizable dents in the house convinced me that the closest ones, mostly oaks that do fall easily, should contribute to the winter’s warmth. If it is a question of safety then there should be no guilt in the dropping. I also think you are wise to get yourself a wood burning stove…unless there is a fireplace, then an insert works well too.

    My fingers are crossed that all goes smoothly with the future acquisition of Hardacre Estate in the coming weeks.

    • We will have oaks on the boundary, Steve. In fact one boundary is all glorious tall deciduous trees including beech and oak. None of those will come down. The wood burner is already in the house. It is precisely storm damage that worries us. True hurricanes are rare in Britain but they do happen and should not be derided.

      • Even without a hurricane, strong winds can be quite damaging and knock down trees or rip off branches. Most of the tree damage we see around here is from straight line bursts which are sometimes mistaken for a tornado based on the damage all being in a straight line through the landscape. We still have a couple of trees near the house, a pine, two hemlocks and a linden, that we are considering removing too.
        You border of trees sounds wonderful, Andrew. I do believe that your return to the Isles will cause the inner landscape photographer in you is about to burst forth.

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