Part of the reason I love to garden is that it feels good to do hands-on work on my own land. I have taught myself many skills I had no idea I even needed by tackling landscape projects, like how to build a staircase on a slope or how to use a weedwhacker.
But self-sufficient as I am, every now and then a task comes up that requires a professional. Most of these involve tall trees.
My Personal Forest
When I bought my property in France, it had very few trees. There were six oak trees, each some 50 years old according to locals. These were planted along the top or bottom of the property and I loved them. But I love trees and I wanted more.
Planting trees was a task I was able to accomplish myself. I used every technique imaginable, scattering acorns, buying saplings and planting them, rooting cuttings, or just sticking a cut branch in the soil and watching it take off. In time, my personal forest began to grow.
Protecting My Trees
I soon learned that part of growing a forest was protecting my new trees. The biggest danger to these trees came from an unexpected source: the wild Basque ponies that roamed the mountains.
The ponies were drawn to the new, young shoots in springtime when they were tender. Every morning I would wake up and find more of my little trees stripped bare of leaves or even eaten down to the soil. So I thought about hiring a professional. My first “professional” help was an elderly Basque man whose specialty was installing fencing and I asked him to fence in the entire acreage.
He first installed the posts, then attached chicken wire and finished off the job with a few layers of barbed wire on top. Finally, he installed a gate at the driveway and my young trees were at last safe.
Cutting My Trees
Time passed and the trees grew. Some grew fast and some grew slowly but over two decades, they ended up so tall that they blocked the view. Then they grew even taller and blocked the winter sun from getting to the property.
Could I cut the tall trees myself? I thought about buying a very tall ladder and a chain saw. But in the end, it seems very dangerous and more than I should attempt myself. I decided not to take the risk. It was time to consider hiring a professional again.
I brought in a local company specializing in tree trimming. Their employees swarmed up the trees with cables and started work. It took them a week and cost a pretty penny, but I never regretted the decision. When they left, I had my view back and could hang my clothes out to dry in the sun again.