Removing a Hazardous Tree

A large rotted tree is removed for safety reasons.

Clip Summary

Bob talks with Ruth Foster, landscape designer and former Assistant Tree Warden for the City of Boston, about a problematic maple tree in the backyard. Foster explains the tree is a potential hazard as it is leaning and could fall on the house if there is a bad storm. The tree has a double trunk with a narrow crotch with rot in the middle, all of which make it highly unstable. The tree has also grown with a distinctive lean to better make its way towards the sunlight. The tree service company, Maltby & Co., was called in to take the tree down. A crane truck was jacked up and leveled and a police detail was called to direct traffic around the site. A man was attached to the crane's line and hoisted to the top of the tree. He then cut large branches from the tree and attached them to the crane's line to be lowered to the ground. Pieces of the branches were then fed into a wood chipper while larger sections were separated out for future use. Several smaller trees were also removed, bringing a lot of sunlight into the backyard.
Before we could start any landscape work in the backyard, we had to decide what to do about a very big maple tree.

Landscape designer Ruth Foster was actually the first woman certified arborist in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and also the Assistant Tree Warden for the city of Austin.


So I figured you knew a little bit about trees.

I do.

And behind you, we have I guess a leaning tree, right?

Well, you have a hazard tree that it's going to fall on the house if there's a really bad storm. And one of the problems is that it's a double trunk with a very narrow crotch which is dangerous, and has rock in the middle.

There's rock in the crotch, and so that means that it could split apart there in a big wind storm.


And the fact that it's leaning. Why do you suppose it's leaning that way?

Towards the sun.

Of course.

That's south.

And unfortunately, our house is right underneath it. So I guess it

It would be okay to call the tree guys, right?

If it were my house, I would take it down because I think it's sort of a hazard tree and it doesn't really do any good.

There are beautiful trees behind. It doesn't help.

Thanks for the advice, Ruth.

So, we called in the professionals.

Maltby and Company has been in business since 1949. It's still a family owned tree service and they're real pioneers in the use of crane and heavy equipment for tree removal.

First, the crane truck has to be jacked up and leveled at the site and in this case we needed a police detail to be sure the traffic on the parkway was safely handled.

After suiting up and hooking to the crane, this daring young man cuts the limbs from the top down, attaching them with straps to the crane.

I don't know.

Once he gets down, the crane operator lifts the piece and brings it to the chipper, where more crew members are feeding in the smaller brush and saving the larger trunks for future use.

Then, they repeat the process, lifting out what seems like enormous pieces of the tree right over the ridge of the house and down to the street, over and over again.
It's quite a sight.
Now this was a big tree, and once it was down, you could really see where the rot was going to cause problems eventually.

The Maltby crew also took care of several suckers and saplings that were overgrowing the yard and now that all of this is gone, the sun shines over the whole backyard.