Removing the Fallen Tree, Tarping the Roof, Assessing the Damage, and Grinding the Stump

Monday, November 12, 2012

Aspen arrived bright and early.

Removing the Tree That Fell on Our House

Before proceeding with the details and photos of the tree’s removal, let me say a few words about Aspen. They are tree experts, one of the best in NJ. I love their motto:

Removing the Tree That Fell on Our House

We’ve been using them for a long time and have regularly had them assess the status of the two maples and the trees in the woods directly along the lawn line. In fact, Gabe had been to the house in early October to do just that. We agreed that the upper branches of both maples needed to be cut back because they were overhanging the roof a bit too much. It would have been taken care of had not Sandy intervened.

As to precisely why the tree came down, both Gabe and Mike, the foreman of the tree removal crew, told us that the tree was healthy, i.e., no root disease. The roots had loosened during the hurricane but would have stabilized if the nor’easter with its water-laden heavy snow hadn’t occurred so soon after. They also mentioned that the nor’easter brought down more trees than Sandy did.

Now, on to the removal….

The first thing they did was sever the top branches which covered almost the entire driveway.  It needed to be cleared to make way for the truck with the crane (in this photo, it’s on the left).

Removing the Tree That Fell on Our House

A small tractor with remote-controlled pincers picked up the branches and ferried them to the chipper.

Removing the Tree That Fell on Our House

Removing the Tree That Fell on Our House

Once the driveway was completely cleared, the truck with the crane was positioned and the crane was lifted. Mike directed the crane’s maneuvers with a remote-controlled device strapped to his belt. In the backyard, crewmen first severed the thinner branches, then the slightly thicker ones.  The jaws of the crane lifted the tree limbs, carried them to the front, and deposited them on the lawn next to the truck where they were then picked up by the tractor’s pincers and brought to the chipper.

Removing the Tree That Fell on Our House

Removing the Tree That Fell on Our House

Removing the Tree That Fell on Our House

Removing the Tree That Fell on Our House

Removing the Tree That Fell on Our House

Removing the Tree That Fell on Our House

Removing the Tree That Fell on Our House

They used an electric saw to cut the main branches from the trunck.

Removing the Tree That Fell on Our House

Logs too huge for the chipper were carefully lowered by the crane into the back of a truck.  They would be used for firewood.

Removing the Tree That Fell on Our House

Severed from the stump, the trunk was hauled by the crane through the broken fence to the front and put into the truck with the logs.

Removing the Tree That Fell on Our House

When they were done, just the roots and stump were left.

Removing the Tree That Fell on Our House

We had decided that in the spring we’d plant a new tree in the same spot.  To do so, the roots and stump needed to be ground up. That would be done in a separate operation several weeks later.

While the tree removal was going on, other members of the crew took down the cracked limb from the maple near the patio, cut the upper limbs back, and climbed a few trees in the woods along the lawn line to do some pruning that had now become necessary.

Once the tree removal was completed, we could see the damage to the second story roof.

Damage from the Tree That Fell on our House

In the afternoon, John from Ginfreda arrived with two workers who tarped the roof of the garage as well as the part of the upper roof that was damaged.

Tarping

Tarping

John then did a thorough inspection to determine the extent of necessary repairs so he could prepare a detailed estimate of costs for insurance purposes.

Saturday, November 17th

Two insurance adjusters came to the house. Their inspection lasted quite some time. When they were done, they determined that we would be covered for the following:

Tree removal
Stump Grinding
Renovating the lawn (We intended to put down sod which was not covered.)
If necessary, repairs to our underground sprinkling system
Replacement of the fence
Repairs to the beams holding up the garage roof
An entire new roof (We had had a new roof put on just two years before. However, the shingles could not be matched.)
Repairs to the garage overhang, the trim on the side of the house, and replacement of damaged shingles
Replacement of gutters and leaders
Painting the entire house
New barbecue including installation*

(*Note: During the pruning, a tree limb accidentally fell on top of our 20+-year-old barbecue damaging it beyond repair. Because it was attached to an in-ground gas line, we decided to replace it immediately. So, the next day, we went H&H Appliances, in West Windsor, to purchase a new one. There is only one model that uses an in-ground gas connection. It’s from the same company as the old one and closely resembles it with two differences: stainless steel grates instead of cast iron and a stainless handle instead of wood. It had not yet been installed when the adjusters came; However, when Michael showed them the damaged barbecue and the bill for the new one, they agreed to cover it.)

Thursday, December 23th

Aspen returned to grind the stump. The machine they used had a huge circular blade. First they did the roots and then the stump.

Grinding the Fallen Tree's Stump

When they finished, it was as if the tree had never existed.

Grinding the Fallen Tree's Stump

The next step was to attend to the repairs. They would be done in January 2013. Until then, our house looked like this:

Tarping

You can view the entire photo sets on my Flickr of the tree’s removal here and the stump grinding here.
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