Native Plants, Habitat Restoration, and Other Science Snippets from Athens, Georgia

Friday: 14 March 2014

About That Tree  -  @ 09:08:30
We have three large pines just south of the house. A couple of years ago, one of them died. It's been peacefully dropping its branches since. Notice that it now lacks a top.

I guess you know what's going to happen next.

On Wednesday afternoon, a cold front came through after rain earlier in the day. We had moderately high, gusty winds. I was in the greenhouse you see below, rescuing a leopard frog, when there was a big crash five feet to my right.

The top of that dead pine had broken off and sailed 50 feet horizontally, right into the deck railing and sliding glass door. It broke the deck railing, and interestingly the outer but not the inner pane of the double pane glass of the door. (More interesting was how the glass was designed to break - into itty bitty rectangular chunks, and not shards and needles so much. A wonderful lesson in materials science, I guess.)

All these trees are leaning away from the house, if they lean at all, and branch growth has been more on that side, too, since it's the south side. Our winds tend to come from the west or northwest, but the key word there is "tend." We've used these facts to rationalize leaving the trees, or at least delaying their removal, up to this point.

We've now lived in this house for 23 years, this April. I had to piece things together a bit: moving day was April 1991. I know this because those great solvers of international problems, whose day job was building our house, spent much time that previous fall and winter discussing GHW Bush's planned invasion of Kuwait.

We've been lucky in that this is the first weather related damage we've had. I guess we should take this first as a strong hint.

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