Love Me Some Tree Ninja


We had been dreading this day for a whole year.  Tree cutting day.  But, the time had finally arrived.  A few events set this day in motion.

1) My mom, the most un-hippie tree hugger you’ll ever meet, arrived for a weekend visit

2) Chris shot down my attempts at calling a professional tree trimming company (how can you say no to someone who advertises himself as a tree cowboy?!)

3) The tree was becoming so overgrown that branches were beginning to touch the street pavement (nothing kills curb appeal faster than a tree out of control)

Chris moaned and groaned thinking of nearly every excuse in the book to get out of the inevitable.  But it was time.  Time for the Chris versus tree showdown.

Obstacle 1: We met our first obstacle upon discovering that we don’t have a ladder tall enough to reach the branches that needed to be cut and Chris wasn’t ready to take claim to the title of Tree Cowboy.  So, my Dad and Chris set out to Home Depot to rent a ladder.  Two Home Depots later (the one by us has stopped renting tools we found out… boo!), the boys were back home with a humongous ladder in hand.

Obstacle 2: Enter hippie-mom with her claims that we needed a special spray to use on the tree after cutting branches.  “It’s like Neosporin for trees!” she claimed.  Fiiine.  Another trip to Home Depot and we had the ultimate tree band-aid.

And we were off!

Let me take this time to mention how this is yet another project we severely underestimated the timing on.  What we thought would take an hour, two at the max, took ALL day.  Even with 6 pairs of hands helping.  Oh yeah, you know we roped in brother 1 and 2 as well (what else are they good for?  KIDDING!… sort of).

As Chris and my dad whacked away at the tree, my mom surveyed (aka represented the feelings of the tree through her hippie ways), my middle brother cut the fallen branches into smaller limbs, and my youngest brother and I dragged the limbs to the curb for trash pick-up.  Several hours later, we surveyed our handywork.

Then began the big debate.  There was something wrong.  Mr. tree looked like he had a bad haircut.  Everything looked great on the two sides and in the back.  But the front… oooh boy.  It looked like he was bald in front except for one rebellious spot sticking straight out.  Sort of like Howie Mandel’s soul patch.


Side A (Dad and Julie): The patch has gotta go.  Whack it off!

Side B (Mom and Chris): Leave the patch!  The integrity of the tree will be gone otherwise. (Have I mentioned the word hippie yet?)

Well, side A won.  Naturally.  We’re the most stubborn afterall.

The soul patch was cut off and our tree emerged as its beautiful self again.  Ahhh.  Much better.

Our front yard is almost up to par with the lawn two doors down that we so covet.  They have perfectly manicured bermuda grass compared to our very lush, but very St. Augustine lawn.  It’s so unfair!  *sigh.  Some day we’ll steal back the mental title of “Lawn of the Neighborhood.”  Some day.


Correction: I’m the Tree Ninja. What my lovely wife failed to mention is that a few weeks before, I climbed up into the tree with a sawzall and cut all the branches I could reach. The problem is that you can only climb out so far on a branch before things get really unstable. I wanted to wear a helmet, but Julie said no because I would “look stupid.” Right, because climbing a tree with a sawzall doesn’t already look stupid or anything.

Anyway, to say that the branches were low is something of an understatement- you couldn’t walk in front of our house without getting whacked in the face, and the only thing keeping it off the ground was the fact that most of the branches were resting on top of my project car. Oh, and the daily advertisements for tree-cutting services taped to our door was another giveaway that maybe it was in fact time to do something about it.

I hated yard work as a kid. Not only were we the only kids in the neighborhood that had to do it, but it was usually my mom going on a clipping frenzy while my sister and I picked up the debris. I pretty much have nightmares about picking up leaves and tree limbs, so I agreed to risk life and limb (no pun intended) to cut the stupid branches under one condition: I didn’t have to pick anything up.

After picking up a ladder and tree saw from Home Depot, Julie’s dad and I stared at the tree for a few minutes attempting to determine which branches needed to be cut, and in what order. We finally picked a starting point, gave the ladder a few good shakes to ensure stability, and we were ready to hack away. I’m not scared of heights, but there’s something unnerving about cutting off tree limbs. For starters, you’re about 15 feet off the ground. Seconds, you’re on a rickety ladder, throwing your body weight back and forth to make the cuts (it’s that or hang on by one hand and make wimpy cuts).

A few hours later (I knew from the beginning that it would take all day, by the way), we had a pile of branches about the size of a Sherman tank… but something wasn’t quite right. The tree looked like a boat listing to port, and we weren’t quite sure why. Julie and her dad were convinced more branches needed to come down, but I didn’t want to lose any more shade in the front lawn. After a few minutes of arguing (I’m sure the nosy neighbors were delighted), we compromised and decided to cut one more branch. Huzzah! The tree looked great, and we were DONE.

Oh, and the neighbors whose lawn Julie covets? They don’t do their own work, they have lame grass, and they don’t get the satisfaction of climbing trees with power tools.

Tree Ninja to the rescue!

Just chillaxin’ between cuts.

The rest of us look so hard at work!

A visual after we sprayed the tree “band-aid”

Ahhh so much better without the soul patch (sorry we forgot to take before picture!  Don’t hate us!)

Aw, pretty house!


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