Clearance can get one into some interesting situations. Yes, with the necessary clearance, one can get into penitentiaries, protected military facilities, sensitive areas of the White House, or even Area 51.

The sort of clearance that I was concerned with this past week and the week prior was not so interesting. Now that roofs and gutters of the buildings at work are in the process of being cleaned before wintry weather, trees must also be pruned for clearance. As they grew through summer, some got detrimentally close to the roofs and gutters that are getting cleaned, as well as chimneys, windows, outdoor lighting and walkways. Such clearance is a concern throughout the year, but becomes more of a priority as we get ready for winter. No one wants to go back onto the roofs any more than necessary.

1. Before. The redwoods must be pruned for adequate clearance from the roof, chimney, lamppost, and even the umbrella on the patio that can not be opened without pushing a bit of foliage aside.P81013

2. After.P81013+

3. Soot on the tip of one of the redwood limbs demonstrates why clearance from chimneys is so important. Foliage that gets too close to chimneys can ignite and fall back onto the roof below, where it has the potential to ignite any foliar debris that might have accumulated behind the chimney since last year.P81013++

4. The belfry of the chapel next door really bothered me. Clearance was barely adequate. Although I am not worried about the shingles or painted surfaced getting damaged as wind starts to blow during winter, I think that the chapel would look better with more clearance from the encroaching redwood limbs. The problem was that I could not reach the limbs. Because this clearance was not a priority, the pruning here was postponed. A colleague who is not as plump as I am suggested that I get onto the roof through that gap between the top of the louvered sides of the belfry, and the underside of the roof above. Now, even if I could somehow get through that little gap, where would I go on the outside?! Let Quasimodo do it!P81013+++

5. The chapel was built among the redwoods, very literally. Expanding trunks are beginning to displace the foundation and utilities. I can not prune for the sort of clearance that is needed here. Because the chapel is such an important building, and the redwoods are such important trees, it would be feasible to move the chapel over onto a new foundation. The problem with that idea is that the redwood trunks are pressing up against the building on three sides! There is no place to move the building without cutting something out!P81013++++

6. Phytophthora ramorum, which is commonly known as Sudden Oak Death Syndrome, or SODS, continues to kill tanoaks, (Notho)lithocarpus densiflorus, and coast live oaks, Quercus agrifolia. These trees do not need to be pruned for clearance, but must be removed before they start to deteriorate and drop limbs onto adjacent buildings or whatever happens to be below.P81013+++++

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:

https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/

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28 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: Clearance

    1. It is already getting squished from the sides. The sewer pipe can be rerouted, but as a group of trunks pushes from the side that the first picture was taken, a trunk on the opposite side is getting dangerously close to the foundation. The trunks on the opposite side of the first picture will likely be removed, so that a new foundation can be built, and the building can be moved over. We really do not know yet.

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  1. Does Phytophthora have much impact in gardens with you? In the UK hasn’t had much impact on native plants, the biggest victim has been Rhod ponticum, which we’d be better without and is an invasive alien species.

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    1. This is specifically Phytophthora ramorum, and it has been devastating! The farm was quarantined for a year, and almost went out of business because of it. Hundreds of trees needed to be cut down and burned there. The firewood could not leave the site. The tan oaks never were very popular; but coast live oak is a massive and prominent tree in the region. Some of us built homes around the most sculptural coast live oaks, and many of such oaks died.

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    1. There is nothing easy about it. We all love the chapel building, and we all love the trees. As an arborist, I believe that the trunks on the far side (of where the first picture was taken) should be removed so that a new foundation can be built, and the chapel can be moved over.

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    1. Well, now you know to not bring home any redwood trees for the clearance sale.
      If left to their own devices, the trees would win. Not much gets in the way of a redwood. However, I would prefer to remove the trunks on the far side of where the first picture was taken so that the chapel building can be moved over. The trunks get milled into lumber that is used to repair and renovate the old buildings here with the same lumber with which they were built so long ago.

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  2. Good call not climbing up on that steep roof, there comes a time in life when we know our limits! An awful thought though to think that little chapel will be crushed by falling trees and limbs! Never love when the power company comes along here to ‘trim’ along the lines, absolutely no finesse, just hacking up and down the road. With heavy snow loads however, clearance is a must.

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    1. It would not have been ‘climbing up on that steep roof’. It would have been more like falling off of that steep roof.
      Limbs do not fall very often. Lower limbs should get pruned away as they die. Redwood takes a very long time to decay and fall, so we get to most of the dead limbs before they decay and fall. I hope that the trunks of the far side of the first picture will get removed so that the chapel building can be moved over. Pruning for utility clearance is not as bad for redwoods as it is for other trees. Once the trees are pruned up and over the utilities, they grow upward, so are left alone. Those that are directly under the cables get removed. There is not much in between. Redwoods happen to be some of the very few trees that utilities get routed around. They are so massive that it is easier to do it that way. You might have seen pictures of redwood trees with tunnels cut through them.

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  3. Clearance is something we deal with a good bit. I always dread it because many times the situation hasn’t been dealt with until real problems are evident or happening. There is a real skill to dealing with these types of problems, and most solutions are expensive, unless one is savvy enough to deal with the situation early on! Nice post!

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    1. Thank you. Most problems with clearance pruning are not as simple as those with the redwood trees. The excurrent branch structure (with branches emerging laterally from a single trunk) of redwood grows up and above utility cables and roofs, so that lower limbs only need clearance pruning as they sag with weight of new growth. Decurrent trees are those that need more regular clearance pruning. They get seriously disfigured by such pruning.

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    1. Wow, that is the most common comment. The trees would win if left to their own devices. This will not likely happen. We will likely remove trunks on the far side of where the first picture was taken so that the chapel building can be moved over.

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  4. Perhaps more of a conundrum than many people realise for the expert will know that removing too much of a threatening tree can be worse than not removing enough as that step too far can result in accelerated root growth. That can be more damaging, partly because no-one sees it until it’s way too late. And this is the problem around here – too many so called “tree surgeons” could barely remove a splinter from a finger! They are merely people who, unfortunately, own a chainsaw.

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    1. GADS! That is SO true. The industry attracts those who flunk out at everything else. Most of the damaged trees that In inspect in urban areas were damaged by so called ‘arborists’ who charged significant money to ruin otherwise good trees!

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  5. That’s a lovely little chapel — I hope both it and the trees can somehow be saved. But I’d worry about fire — we’re having a rainy day today, but there are none in the future, and the tips of the branches would dry out pretty fast!

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    1. Coastal redwood is one of those rare and weird specie that survive wildfire by being less combustible than other trees. I certainly do not want burning foliage falling onto dry debris on roofs, but the trees above do not worry me much. They need a sustained fire below to burn.
      The chapel and most of the trees around it will likely be fine. However, we will probably eventually remove trunks on the far side of the chapel (from where the picture was taken) so that the chapel can be moved over.

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    1. New level? It is really quite simple. The process is known as ‘limbing’, and involved removing the offending stems all the way back to the main trunk. Other than that, there is no real pruning. Because most of the foliage is out near the tips of the limbs, there is no point in leaving the bare portions of the limbs if the tips must be removed. However, if I could have reached the limbs that were encroaching too close to the belfry, I would probably have left them, and only pruned back some of the encroaching foliage and stems.

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    1. Goodness! Everyone is concerned about the chapel! It should be salvageable. We will likely remove the trunks on the far side of where the picture was taken so that it can be moved over.

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    1. Thank you . . . but it all went into the greenwaste recyclery. Nothing to get excited about. It occurred to me afterward that I again featured redwood almost exclusively, with only two dead tan oaks at the end. Do dead trees count? I really should get more flowers. Oh well.

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      1. Well, the first sentence made sense, and I totally get it in regard to the redwoods. I have always lived with them, and I never get tired of them. I think I would enjoy them more if they were not here. I get that way with Joshua trees, which are merely something that gets in the way of those who live out in the Mojave Desert.

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