I got a call from a contractor who was in a panic. His backhoe had damaged the trunk and root system of this poor Monterey Pine. A concerned neighbor had alerted the department of urban forestry. They in turn did an inspection of the work site and determined that the tree was a hazard and must be removed. This contractor wanted me to reinspect the tree and see if there was a possibility that the tree could be saved.
Despite the lean, the damage, the prevalent high winds, and the giant hole in the ground I thought with a some reduction in wind sail the tree would probably make it. I made the contractor promise that the backhoe would be removed immediately. I also said that I would do a more thorough inspection of the roots and clear away the root crown and buried surface roots. If I were to discover large, damaged or cut roots, especially on opposite side of the lean then I would stop work and advise removal. My friends at the Dept of Urban Forestry backed me up as long as the owner would take full liability.
The next day I returned to the site, prepared to excavate and remove some large limbs. The backhoe was still on site and still digging. There was now several more yards of dirt on top of the root zone. The neighbor showed up too. He pointed out exactly how much dirt had been removed. He was very concerned.
Then I looked at the neighbor’s house. And that’s when I realized that the tree actually blocked his view. At this point I am starting to wonder what is really at stake.
I called the contractor. I told him I didn’t want to be in the middle. It seemed that too many people wanted too many different results. I said I wanted to break my ties and that I wouldn’t write a report verifying that the tree could be saved. I didn’t want to be the fall guy. hehehe
He asked if there was anything he could do for me to make me change my mind. Was that a bribe? I told him that next time he should consult an arborist BEFORE he does construction in the vecinity of a large tree.