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This is a question Destruction, Demolition and Deconstruction

The Lone Groover says "I've just taken down a pergola with a metre-deep Russian vine over the top. It had nine birds' nests in it, and had rotted all of the cross timbers. It covered the entire lawn and needs a skip of its own." What's the biggest/worst thing you've ever taken down? Tell us your tales of demolition and wanton destruction.

(, Thu 8 Nov 2012, 13:17)
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Man v tree
At my old flat we had a small garden that was rather nice to sit in apart from the fact that a lot of the light was blocked by two (cypress, I think) trees that had been there for decades and were now far taller than the (four-storey) block that we lived in. At the time my German flatmate was trying to rig up his TV decoder to the old satellite dish on the back of the building and he was convinced that one of the trees was blocking his signal, so one weekend he climbed up the tree and cut a big chunk out of the side of it. I can't remember if it solved his problem or not, but the tree looked ridiculous and as we wanted more light in the garden we started to plan its demise.

The main problem was that we had no power tools or safety equipment of any kind, nor any real experience of tree felling, but we did have a good saw. So over three weekends we took it in turns to climb the tree to about a metre from the top, cut off all the side branches, saw through the trunk and then climb down another metre or so and repeat the process.

The secondary problem is that a massive tree produces massive amounts of wood and foliage. The entire garden was thigh-deep in green stuff with great huge logs lurking beneath the surface. It sat there for a few weeks before some men from the council arrived to trim the trees in the street and I heard the distinctive sound of a wood chipper. I asked them if it was possible to dump some of the tree in there and one guy pondered the question, replying "Milk, two sugars." Before long I was ferrying pots of tea and dustbins full of branches out into the street but all too soon they had to move on and I still had about three quarters of a tree to get rid of.

Now that it was at least possible to get into the garden again I set about the rest of the tree with saw and secateurs and reduced it down still further into piles of logs of varying sizes, from sticks to the last section of the trunk we cut out, which was about 2' across and 5' long. For a whole year we ate nothing but wood-fired barbeques - we even filled the boot with it and took our own firewood to Glastonbury. I used some of it to make attractive little borders for the rest of the garden which was starting to flourish now that one of the huge trees had stopped blocking out all the light.

We donated the last bits - the really big bits of trunk - to the local estate's communal bonfire that November, about 18 months after we first started cutting it down. The biggest bit took four men to carry and burned for a day.

About a year later, the letting agents sent someone round to do an inventory of the flat and I'd arranged to be in while they were there in case any awkward questions came up. Which they did, as he looked out of one of the first-floor windows...
"Didn't there used to be two trees in the garden?"
At this point the second tree was now nothing but a 4' stump with a birdhouse on top, which I was training ivy to grow over.
"What happened?"
"That one, uh, died."
"But what happened to it?"
"Er...some men from the council took it away?"
"Oh, right then."

I went past the old flat the other day and while the ivy has grown rather nicely over the old stump the surviving tree has taken full advantage of the space, expanding to block out almost as much of the light as two trees had.

TLDR: Men cut down tree, dispose of wood in various ways and don't quite have to lie about it.
(, Fri 9 Nov 2012, 9:57, Reply)

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