Storm Update

I was reading Helen at Toronto Gardens post the other day about her 150 year old sugar maple that came down at her cottage in Quebec. 

We do not know how old ours is.  We had it pruned and checked two years ago, and the tree guy said it is old, but that it will last.   Will it didn’t!

One third came down, 2 weeks ago during a particularly heavy wind which only lasted for 15 minutes.  It  is about 5 feet from the property line and crashed down on our neighbours metal garden shed, crumpling it like a tin can.  Luckily it fell between the two houses, so there was minimal damage, except to our hearts. That was our favourite tree. We didn’t know how old it was, but I am sure older then our 130 year old house.  It gave us so much privacy as well, which we didn’t realize.  When it came down it broke about 4 young trees. Now we have a gaping hole.

I could only find pictures that were taken for other reasons in the garden, and the maple is only an afterthought in the corner, but please take  a look at these.


There it stands, proud in early May. Not yet leafed out, you can see that the top is divided into three sections.  The back one is semi hidden behind the middle. 


gardenjune09 002

 Now leafed out in late May, you can see how much privacy it gave us.  There is also three young trees around it and a bit of shrubbery on the neighbours side of the fence.


gardenAug09 076

Now, obviously this picture was not taken to focus on the maple, but you can hardly see through that corner

gardenAug09 136

Oh the agony! I couldn’t bring myself to get any closer to the carnage.  The maple, bent the metal chain link fence, and broke the saplings and shrubbery around it in its dying throes.  I was to heartsick to go to the viewing, so stood on the other side and using the zoom, made my husband go over so you could get a sense of how large this tree is. (we never saw that house with the barn roof before, obviously, it wasn’t just built.) It will take a long time to fill that empty hole.

This was the smaller of the two trees that fell. Our trees seem to grow very tall and skinny(too bad I didn’t). However, this fell only on our property and actually hit another tree, you can see how the tip is just bending up.  It is hard to believe by looking at this picture, but that tree is taking up aprox 1/3 of the depth of our property.  We have a depth of 150 feet.

gardenAug09 137


After I put in this picture, I realized that it might be hard to visualize how large the tree actually is.

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So I put a picture of Ian in. This one was easy to cut up, even with our 14″ electric chainsaw (boy, those things scare me).

12 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Charlotte said,

    Brilliantly written – I felt I was watching through your eyes the whole way through!

    • 2

      Charlotte, that is so sweet, especially coming from such a great writer. It is amazing how much devastation a 15 minute wind can cause. The years needed for those trees to grow, they cannot be replaced in our lifetime.
      Thank you for coming to visit.

  2. 3

    Awww, I’m so sorry. Once in a lifetime can never be replaced.

    • 4

      Thanks for the sympathy. We really love our old trees. So far we have planted 27 new trees (mostly small ornamentals). But they will never have the majesty of what we lost.
      Thank you for visiting my blog and commenting.

  3. 5

    You have my sympathies on the death of your tree. It is devastating to lose such a large old friend. It doesn’t even take 15 minutes around here, it can happen in a 30 second micro burst. Or without wind at all. We lost a large old scotch pine in the corner by our pond. There was no wind involved at all. It was a freezing rain, and the weight of the ice in the canopy just pulled the tree over. And you should see what an ice storm can do to an entire city of trees, with no wind at all.

    The sick feeling as you walk around looking at a tree (or trees) that have been your shade, the comfort and habitat for wild things, the privacy screen. It is not to be described.

    I hate chain saws too, even electric ones. I don’t do chain saw, and I don’t do weed eater.

    • 6

      We moved to Kingston, Ontario after the big ice storm of 1998. I am not sure how much of the states was touched by it. There was a beautiful park across from our house, with mature old trees. Over 50% were damaged.

  4. 7

    Racquel said,

    It’s always hard to lose such a mature specimen. We lost a large Silver Maple 6 years ago thanks to Hurricane Isabel and it was heartbreaking.

  5. 9

    This spoke so close to home to me….we have an 80 year old red maple in our front yard – it’s the centerpiece for the whole block. Everytime there’s a storm and I see the limbs moving around, I panic. Last week a huge tree came down around the corner. I was driving home and saw the tree lying across the street and started to pray our tree was still standing. It was. Thank God, thank Mother Nature, thank whoever. I’m sorry your tree didn’t make it.

  6. 10

    I am very happy that your maple made it Heather, there is not enough of these big old trees around. Ane you are right they real are the “centerpiece” or focal point in a garden. I am going to start sacrificing small animals,(I think squirrels) to Mother Nature, to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.

  7. 11

    miss m said,

    Losing mature trees is gutting ! I love big old trees but having them in the garden is always risky, isn’t it ? My maples aren’t that tall yet, but so very close to the house and I worry about the roots. Wise choice putting in ornamentals.

    ps. Squirrel sacrifices, lol !
    pps. Too bad it didn’t fall on the ‘Deliverance’ house.

    • 12

      It fell on their quite rickety old garden shed, which we had to replace. At least this new one is more attractive. I never worried about all the old trees until after this storm. Now I look at how many are close to the house and pray!

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