Tree Cutting Adventures

Today, I’m heading down to New Orleans, along with part of my family, to spend Labor Day weekend with my niece, Lauren.  We are excited to see their new house and help her get some things done around there while we are there, like painting furniture and walls.  I’ll have lots of fun blog posts to share when I get back!  I’ll bet there will be baby and nursery talk this weekend too. 🙂

But today, since I share most everything that goes on around my house project-wise, I thought I’d share the latest with you. Last week I had 2 trees cut down in my front yard, so I documented it with pics.  I’m not a huge tree cutter and tend to want to hang onto my trees for the most part, but sometimes a tree can be dangerous and too close to the house and when that is the case, I’m not at all afraid to cut one down.  Such is the case with a huge pine tree that straddled the line with me and one of my neighbors.  I talked to my neighbor about cutting down the tree, but he didn’t want to share the costs.  I figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask, so I did.  He gave me his blessing on taking the tree down, although didn’t really see the need.  The tree was leaning towards my house and I have heard horror stories about big pines falling in storms, so I figured I’d better be safe and get it down.  It might have stayed up for 100 years, but I didn’t want to take a chance on it falling.  Plus, pine trees are so messy. I don’t love their pinecones falling in my front yard and the messy pine straw they leave behind.

So, goodbye big pine tree!

There was also another smaller cherry tree, one of 3 trees lined up across my front yard that also needed to go.  It had dead limbs on one side and was growing into my beautiful pink dogwood tree, so it was time for it to come down too.  I’m left with 2 pretty trees in the front yard, one pink cherry and one pink dogwood, so that’s a nice view for me.  I got a recommendation from one of my friends who used a local tree cutter and she put me in touch with them.   I was very satisfied with the estimate I got to take down both these trees:  $550 for both!

When you see the size of my pine tree, I think you’ll agree, this was a good price! That was a scary proposition to watch and I was a tree climber from way back, but you couldn’t pay me to do what this guy did.

3 trees

So, here’s what I started with.  3 trees lined up in my front yard. There’s a pink cherry on the right and a pink dogwood on the left, which is just gorgeous in Spring.  The pink cherry in the middle, however, has seen better days, with several dying limbs and it was growing into the side of my dogwood tree, so it was time to take ‘er down.

cherry and dogwood

Here’s a good angle so you can see how close it is to my beautiful dogwood.

cherry tree

Growing right into the side, I definitely didn’t want it impeding on my dogwood growth and health.

big pine
This monstrous pine sits right on the line with me and my neighbor.  It drops pinecones and pine straw and is not my favorite tree to have around.  I’ve heard they have shallow roots and can uproot during storms, so it made me nervous, looming over my house.

leaning pine

As you can see from this angle, it is definitely leaning towards my mansion. Smile  And we can’t have that!



023 (2)

This is a good shot of how big the tree is.  Not a small feat to get this sucker down.

cherry tree down

The crew of about 6 guys showed up to take my 2 trees down last Friday.  They were thorough and knew what they were doing and I was very happy with how they handled it all.  First, chainsaws took down all the limbs and they cut this cherry tree down to a stump.

cherry tree cut

Limb by limb and it was gone in just a few minutes.  They brought in a small bulldozer to move around the trunk of the big tree and a big truck and wood chipper to get rid of all this wood. I could have kept some wood chips, but told them to haul it all off, please.

cherry down

Cherry tree gone!

limbs chipped

Limbs and debris that got fed into the wood chipper.  They were here about 4 hours.


This big truck hauled off all the wood chips.

big pine (2)

Next, it was time for the big one. That big pine is no joke.  You can see those 2 guys and how small they look next to the tree.

climbing tree

The smaller guy took off up the tree with ropes and a gas powered chain saw.  He had spikes in his shoes to climb the tree.  As much as I loved climbing trees as a child, no way would I climb this thing.  You have to be young and agile to do this.  This guy knew just how to do it and I watched the whole process.

cut limbs

Limb by limb he started cutting them all off, working his way up the tree trunk.

cutting more limbs

Big limbs fell in the yard and the other guys drug them over and got them ready to go in the wood chipper.

limb debris

Limbs fell all over the place.

tree top
Before long, the bottom  limbs were all gone and the trunk was bare.  He inched his way to the top.

cutting trunk

Once all those bigger limbs were gone, then he picked a spot on the trunk which would take down the rest of the top of the tree.  This was pretty amazing!


Timberrrrr!!  Isn’t that what they yell when a tree comes down?

I did this in an animated gif program on Photoscape and got the whole top coming down.  Incredible, isn’t it?  Cutting both sides of the trunk with the chain saw, they had a rope tied to the top and 2 guys out in the road, insuring that it would fall where they wanted it to fall.

trunk left

Then, just the trunk was left.  I missed how they got this down since I was inside the house, but the huge thud and shaking of my house told me when the whole trunk came down.  I think they probably did the same method and cut it down at the bottom with the chainsaw, pulling it down where they wanted it.

trunk down

Once I heard the thud from inside, I went to the front door to see it laying on the ground, the massive stump left.

chipping wood

They then cut it all up and chipped it too.  Maybe I should have asked for a slice of wood, that might have been fun.  Oh well!

all clear

Once they were finished, my front yard looked like this.  They did a very thorough job of cleaning up and I was very pleased.

pine stump

All that is left of the pine tree now.  I may have someone come back and grind the stumps, but I won’t be in a hurry about that.  This company didn’t do that part.

my house exterior

The front of my house looks a little cleaner now with the broken down cherry tree gone. Now my beautiful dogwood can take off and spread out like it needs to.  I’ve got lots of big plans to landscape this house and I’m waiting for a guy that I know to come and build me a cute front porch and peaked roof with columns.  He’s really busy, but I’m hoping he will get to me in the next couple of months before it gets too cold.  I can’t wait to get that done too and it will add a lot of charm to the front of my house.

So, that’s the low down on taking down some trees!  Have you had to do that at your house too?

I’m glad I didn’t have tons of trees to  have to take down. Some of the houses we looked at before I got this one were full of awful pine trees close to the house and overgrown backyards. I’m so glad that I ended up with a yard that’s a blank slate and I don’t have to do a lot of tearing out.

Landscaping additions, yes please!


The Lutron giveaway is closed and the five winners have been announced and emailed!

- Rhoda


  1. My former husband has his degree in forestry so he knew how to fell a tree. We bought a house with an enormous hemlock in the front yard that blocked so much light. We also had telephone and electric wires that were near the tree. Much like your tree guys did, my sons and husband took down the tree, top to bottom and never disturbed the power or phone lines. It was an amazing (and very scary!) thing to watch. Best part was when it was finished we had some fantastic mulch and there was light in front of the house.

  2. Oh, yes, Rhoda, what a timely post! We’re currently into day 2 of having trees across the road on our river property limbed up of all the wild limbs that block our view (& I’ve been taking photos too :)). One questionable tree with questionable ownership (ours or the city’s right-of-way, on top of the riverbank) – we’re having cabled from limb to limb to try to save it. If it were a pine, like you, I’d say take it down. Last year here in WV, the derecho wreaked havoc on so many 100+ year old trees – sycamores, giant oaks – many just snapped, & folks are being proactive when they’re close to homes, lines, taking more & more down. I get nervous with the wild storms, and just pray that our remaining trees will be healthy & stay upright.
    I love that gif programmed photo – is that a special feature on your camera, an app, a video, or an after the fact, merging various shots?

    • HI, Rita, that is a gif program in Photoscape, a free photo editing service. You download it and then use it on your computer. I pulled all the photos in and merged them into one with this free program. Pretty cool!

  3. Barbara Hunnicutt Moore says:

    You definitely did the smart thing taking down that big old pine tree. With all our rain this summer, I’ll bet it won’t take much for trees to tumble down. Can’t wait to see the front porch!

  4. I had a tree cut down and many branches cut on the others in my yard in July. It is amazing how they climb the trees and cut those big pieces down. After having to deal with Hurricane Sandy, I felt it was better to protect my family and home with doing this. There are reports that we are moving into a really big storm season. It also changed the look of the front of my home. I am really liking the new look. The light that now comes into the front yard is amazing.

  5. Hi Rhoda, first of wow you really got a good price for having the trees taken down. We had two taken down a few years ago and it was 1000.00 a piece. I love everything you have done to your home and I am very happy for you!

  6. Lauren Ashley Lewis says:

    Hi Rhoda,

    You definitely made the right decision on taking down the pine tree! During Hurricane Hugo our neighbor had five huge pine trees fall across our road, narrowly missing our house, and taking down all the power lines and blocking the “one way in, one way out” road to our neighborhood. It was a week before we had power, and neighbors got together to cut our way out of the neighborhood! Thanks and safe and fun travels this weekend!

  7. Wow! Those are some amazing pictures! I can’t imagine climbing up a tree like that, even when I was really young! I think you made a good investment. You’ll have peace of mind, much more light, less mess…..a win all the way around. I’m going to show this post/video to my kids today. They’ll be impressed! :-0

  8. Rhoda, that was an excellent price for taking down those 2 trees. We sought some quotes for removing a tree from our yard and it was much higher. Luckily it was near a power line and the company took it down for us! I cannot wait to see what plans you have in store for your yard!

  9. Linda Shoemaker says:

    We just had 14 trees done exactly the same way you did.Don’t worry,I love trees too and we still have over one hundred.
    Our stumps are still there but on PINTEREST it says you can drill holes and put epsom salts in the holes and the stumps rot out.Pinterest even has cute things to do to them while they rot!
    That’s what we are going to do,or at least try it and see. All of ours were close to the house or leaning, and huge!!!
    It cost a considerable amount but seeing those guys work,it was worth it.

  10. I had a tree come down on my home in the Hurricane 2 years ago, and last year I lost 3 pines to the storm and my neigbor had a tree come down on her home, we shared the cost of the 3rd tree on the property line to be taken down, shame on your neigbor for not splitting the bill and such an inexpensive one at that.

    Have a great time in New Orleans and looking forward to seeing all the work you accomplish there. Is it a boy or girl baby that will be the new member of your family?

  11. I have so many tree stories I wouldn’t know where to begin, so I will just say that I’m in agreement about the price you received. Wow!

    I can’t wait to see the little porch you have built! I know it will be adorable and add so much to your house.

  12. $550 was a steal! In NC we’re overrun with pine trees falling everywhere during bad storms and we’ve had to have several removed over the years. You got a great deal. I’m new to your blog, btw, and really enjoy it. We have a 1963 brick ranch that we are redoing bit by bit so I really love watching your projects and so appreciate the fact that you do them on a budget like most of us! Safe travels to N.O.

  13. Rhoda, I agree that in certain places a pine tree is gorgeous, but not next to your home. My moms home has a back deck totally surrounded by pine trees. What a mess! With all the tornadoes we get around here, I’ve often feared the two huge water oak trees falling on our home too. If they fell there would be nothing left! $550 is definitely worth it for peace of mind. Cant wait to see your new landscape and porch! Have a good time on your trip 🙂

  14. Hokey smokes, that was a big pine tree! And not even very attractive. Good call on taking it down.

  15. Rhoda-I think you have the right attitude about your neighbor–it didn’t hurt to ask, but remain gracious when he says no to sharing the cost. The tree looked healthy enough, so I can see his point of not over-worrying too much.
    Sometimes it really does pay to listen to that little voice prompting you to do something–who knows what headache down the road you were spared from by removing that tree! 🙂
    Can’t wait to see the plans you have in store for your yard! Thanks for being such a fun part of my morning coffee routine.

  16. Becky in 'Bama says:

    our neighbors have at least four HUGE pine trees right on the property line (unfortunately mostly on their side) that drop straw and pine cones in our yard all Fall. HATE it. They believe in the ‘natural overgrown’ look of the property (e.g. they do zero yard maintenance/work) so they don’t really care that we rake and rake and rake. Grrrrr.

  17. “The smaller Hispanic guy took off up the tree …” really???

    • It is deleted, did not intend to offend.

    • It wasn’t offensive and I do believe in being “politically correct” (which to me means not using terms the subject would find hurtful.). You didn’t use some derogatory term for people of Hispanic descent. Maybe she didn’t like the size comparison!

      • Nancy, I’m sorry you don’t see it as wrong-but it is.
        I teach in a very multi-cultural classroom. When you single someone out by their ethnicity- and it is not called for- it is derogatory. I’m sure some people don’t mean it in a bad way, but fighting stereotypes and labels is an ongoing process. As progress is made and more people realize that it is indeed an issue, more sensitivity is used-which then leads to the end of stereotypes and name-calling. Win-win all around 🙂

        • I’m not going to debate this with you. Obviously you think you know better than everyone and there can be do difference of opinion.

        • Political correctness is ridiculous! Calling someone white is not an insult or derogatory. As it is not derogatory to call any other person Italian or Polish or German, etc. It is only stating a FACT! Get it? Facts are REAL things; not made up insults. Wow! I am in fear of what our children are learning in school! I truly am.

  18. Willing to share who did the work?

  19. Rhoda…have fun in New Orleans. You are coming on a somber day for us here though…but it’s also a day of rememberence. Have fun!!!!! 🙂

  20. Wow! I would have been a nervous wreck watching that! They did a great job and I can’t wait to see your new front porch and landscaping!!

  21. Carol-Anne says:

    Good landscaping decision! It looks much better!

    But…..what possible reason would there be to mention that the guy was Hispanic? How is that relevant to anything?

  22. Love the look ! Love the plan for your front door area –
    doesn’t a coverd porch the length to the left of your entry
    sound wonderfu/invitingl! Wish I were there to help you –
    hugs and happiness for you, patti

  23. Jayne Rogers says:

    Hi, Rhoda
    I’d love the name and number of the guys that did your tree work. We need some large pines removed as the roots have cracked our driveway. Since I am local in Cobb Cty, would you mind sharing their contact info? Just send an email to me if you would rather not post on your blog.

  24. My only comment today is that you should leave out the word “Hispanic” when describing the guy who is in your pictures. It’s very unnecessary-his race should have nothing to do with how well he is taking down your tree. If someone were writing about you, would you want them to say, “That white woman who writes a blog…”? I’m sure he would appreciate being called competent, young, etc. more so than being identified by his ethnicity.

  25. Hello Rhoda,
    You definitely got a good price for these trees, shredding and clean up! That big pine did need to go – we took down some trees near our home when we moved in – one was a Magnolia – I’d always wanted one, but its roots were compromising our foundation. Had to go. I read your feature on Trish’s blog, The Old Post Road – I was drawn because she lives nearby – we used to live in Lawrenceville and now live in Sparta – southeast of Madison – love that town!
    Hope you have a blessed weekend,

  26. Good decision to remove the tree. But when you calculate all of the equipment and manpower involved, $550 seems too low to pay the men appropriately for this dangerous work.

  27. Ok folks, the word Hispanic has been removed from my post. I did not realize what a hot button that would push. No offense was intended.

  28. Rhoda,
    I can’t help but express my concern for the lack of safety during this “operation”. Felling trees is an extremely dangerous occupation, second only to Alaska fishermen, and these men are NOT following the law. Did you check to see if they are insured? We had several trees removed from our property and paid $1,000 each and it was well worth the piece of mind knowing that the company is LICENSED and also carries General Liability and Workers Comp. I can’t stress enough how distressing it was for me to see this man climing a tree, shirtless and without a hard hat. I strongly discourage anyone from hiring an outfit such as this one. I hope that anyone looking to have work done in their home asks for a Certificate of Insurance for any contractor or sub-contractor. This is dangerous work that has far reaching consequences if something were to go wrong. Should they be uninsured, the homeowner would be considered negligent in the matter.

    Not judging, just a highly concerned insurance agent looking out for everyone!

  29. Hi Rhoda,
    I am not a fan of pine trees either and for all the same reasons you listed. What I am a fan of is the photoscape technique you used! Great animation!

  30. We had a cherry tree fall last week because of all of the rain we have had in Western North Carolina. So, you did the right thing, White Girl. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

  31. Elaine in Laguna says:

    Great animation! Awful big tree! Glad you took it out. Parallel lives-we just had 12 trees removed from our street yesterday. They were nearly 30 years old (west coast old!) and beginning to pull up sidewalks and driveways. A little bare now but there’s a fall replanting plan. The circle of tree life! Hope you’ll take a pic of the Dogwood in Spring for us.

  32. Can’t wait to see your new landscaping. Winter is a great time to plan and save.

  33. That was like an episode of This Old House. Thanks for sharing, it was fun to “watch!”

  34. That was a very good price and they seemed to have done a professional job. You might try the epsom salt method to kill the stumps if you don’t have it ground out. In fact, I have a few to try it on myself. Leaving them opens your home up to termite damage, especially given their proximity to your house. (Ask me how I know. 🙁 )

    Regarding the “comment”… I’m 100% sure Rhoda meant no harm or disrespect with her remark, but merely meant it as an “identification”. I wouldn’t be reading this blog if I felt otherwise. Her warmth and acceptance of everyone leaps across the web. However, if one has never been singled out for things one can’t change, either disabilities, family background, religion, accent, or even economic/ social status, you can never know how hurtful that can be. I never quite understood the broohaha, until I was unknowingly included in such remarks by someone thinking I’d be in agreement. I suddenly felt how so many others must feel on a daily basis and it was devastating.

    This is NOT to imply that I felt the comment in question was in anyway meant as a diss at all, but it could unwittingly hurt someone’s feelings and that’s the point of the above comments.
    Now, let’s get back to great design and a stupendous rehab!

  35. You could apply the adage: only keep what you know to be beautiful or useful. The cherry tree no longer made the grade. And after seeing so many tall pines come down here in NJ during hurricane Sandy, you definitely made a good decision on the tippy pine tree.

  36. I didn’t even notice the stereotype remark and completely understand that you meant no harm from it. I hope these comments haven’t ruined your day or stressed you out on your trip. If this would have been me I would have appreciated it if someone would have let me know by e-mail instead of by public comment. Have a wonderful trip in NOLA and have fun brainstorming for the baby room.

  37. Rhoda, We had a tree cut down about that size in Alpharetta and the one tree was $600, so you got a very good price! It was between our house and the neighbors, but closer to both houses so they had to get it down right. I was relieved when it was down because it appeared to be dying, and like you, I didn’t want it to land on my house.
    I’m looking forward to seeing what you do to your front yard, and am so glad you’re adding a front porch!

  38. Jane Waddell says:

    Loce your blog. I live in Atlanta an am in desperate need of a tree man. Would you be so kind to share your source with me ?
    A comtact number would be wonderful. With all the rain we have had in Atlanta recently they are all pretty booked up


  39. I so enjoy your website, Rhoda and have told many of my friends about it. Your house is lovely and I’m guessing that your spirit is, too! Maybe folks need to be less sensitive…we all are what we are. I would never be offended if someone described me by my race and/or physical description. How else would they know who I am unless someone said, “the short, asian lady with the bright red lipstick,” or “the heavy-set, white lady with the brown hair,” or “the tall, black lady in the tan shirt,”??? Bet you never imagined your sweet blog would become a sounding board for ethnicity awareness! Just because somebody tells me something is “wrong,” doesn’t make it so. HUGS

    • Thanks Tracy, for your thoughtful comment. I too think folks are extra sensitive these days and it’s hard to make everyone happy. 🙂 I try not to intentionally step on toes, but it may happen sometimes.

  40. Judy Clark says:

    We know all about getting those awful pine trees out of the way. We had thirteen trees taken out in 2008. One tree completly stripped out weighed 10,000 pounds. Yes,it was leaning towards our house. We had one fall on our house when we lived in East Cobb. It was a neighbors tree, and it was a mess. He did nothing to help. Sounds like your neighbor. Our insurance company had to take care of the clean up. Good riddance pine trees!

  41. I had 6 similar trees taken down for the same reason. After my husband passed away I realized I had no one to elbow in the night to say trees down, so when left up to me I took them out.

  42. Loved this post and your blog! Sincerely, a tall, Caucasian, American woman :). I’ve found the majority of people are very proud of their heritage and don’t mind being called by it. My two best friends are Korean and African American :).
    Anyway keep up the wonderful posts! I look forward to reading them every day.

  43. I loved hearing about your recent tree removal and gardening plans. My husband has recently found a love of felling (diseased) pine trees on our property in WV.

    FYI, I have been through 3 major hurricanes and numerous minor ones. What I have learned is that hardwood trees have shallow roots so they tumble over with the roots sticking up in the air, while pine trees have a very DEEP root systems that cause the soft wood to, well, snap like toothpicks. Both are very dangerous to a house and I have seen plenty where both kinds of trees have fallen on them. One particular house that I remember in NC was literally cut in half by a pine tree that fell on it.

  44. Greetings — I hope you don’t mind if I ‘pinned’ your tree coming down on one of my Pinterest boards. I want to show my son. I have a tree that needs to come down like this. Thanks for sharing.
    p.s. If you wish me to remove from Pinterest, I surely will. Please email me to let me know. Thanks!

  45. Rob Gillies says:

    I too want to reinforce what the concerned insurance agent mentioned. I’m a ISA Certified arborist and am disappointed to see such a lack of professionalism. When it’s said that this is one of the most dangerous professions that means workers are killed and maimed weekly. Last year 81 workers died in the most horrific ways you could imagine. another 1000 were injured severely enough to have lost time at work. The majority of them were workers much like the people you have chosen. What you have inadvertently done is condone and promote unsafe work practices where the employer has shown a complete disregard for his workers and you his client. While the trees came down without incident, that’s of little consequence that this company will continue in this manner until something catastrophic happen.
    Am I being overly dramatic? No, take a look at that how easily those saws and wood chippers destroy those trees. Humans are no match for them.

    While it seems like a good deal, what you’ve traded for is their safety. Remember they are family men too.

    For you and your followers who need tree care try the ISA web site and select the link for find an arborist.

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