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  • Writer's pictureJohn McLachlan

Goodbye to the Arbutus

I had a small studio/office built in 2020 and had to make a decision on a beautiful Arbutus tree (Madrone), as the overhang from the roof came out such that the tree was “in the way.” The options then were to cut it down or indent the overhang to accommodate it. I opted for the indent as I figured the arbutus wouldn’t grow in circumference that much and as a tree—they are very stable and don’t sway greatly.

I loved having the tree where it was and it felt almost connected to the house without actually touching it.

This past summer, with all the drought we had, the tree sagged until it was sitting against the house a little. I tried propping it back up by wedging a board in, but the options were limited (there was no other tree in the area that would have supported a line to pull it back). Sadly, I realized it had to go.

The funny thing is, once the rains came back this fall the tree managed to straighten itself up a little and pulled away from the house by a few centimetres. I was tempted to leave it for another year to see how it did, but the risk of snow and what had happened in the summer made me decide to move ahead with its removal.

So, it was brought down yesterday. I’ve been around lots of tree cutting for things like clearing the land where my house got built, but for some reason, this one was a tough one to see come down. It felt close to me and I felt like I was putting an animal to sleep (it was a living thing).

The good news is, the back yard has about a dozen young Arbutus trees coming up. It won’t be long before the “offspring” will grow up.

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