What to do with a 200 year old maple tree #1: Introduction

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Blog entry by superstretch posted 02-10-2011 06:13 AM 2745 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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When I bought this house over a year ago, one of the defining features was one of the 200 year old maple trees that ran along the road. While the main trunk was cut off several feet above the first set of branches, it still manages to drop leaves to a depth of 2’ in some places.

Whilst out shoveling the driveway the other day, I heard the tree popping and snapping every few minutes. I figured I should get an arborist or some sort of tree person over to take a look. Sure enough, the prognosis wasn’t good. “There’s a reason you don’t see many trees this old and this size, and this tree is starting to show that reason.”

It’ll be a shame to see this tree go. It protects the front of my house from stray vehicles, appears to keep watch over our vehicles, and has seen more take place on this property than just about anything else.

The picture above is a litho/sketch from ~1850. The tree in question is just to the right of the driveway. One last picture:

As you can see, the main trunk is gone and several branches have already been cut back. The cut branches you can see have fungus of all sorts growing on them, including on the main trunk above the main crotch. Time will tell how far the trunk has rotted down to. At one point I had a picture with my wife standing in front of the tree and her head is under the base of the branches. The trunk is easily 6’ in diameter at the ground and narrows to maybe 4 1/2’ thick at the narrowest point before the crotch. I’m a tall guy (6’8”) and if I were to hug it, my arms wouldn’t even go 1/2 way around it.

Next step—Since the tree is so close to the road, it should be of concern to the town, county, and power co., either because of potential damage to lines and vehicles or because its in the right-of-way. If that happens, the cutting down will be free and I’ve been told that they’d be happy to leave me 10’ logs. My neighbor owns a bandsaw mill, but I have doubts as to if it can handle the trunk. I’m sure I can arrange a sweet deal with him. I really have no idea how much wood I should expect from this.

Anyone up for ordering 24”x10’ slabs at 8/4? :D

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

4 comments so far

View botanist's profile


167 posts in 3595 days

#1 posted 02-10-2011 04:59 PM

Nice sugar maple (aka hard maple), or at least that’s what I can tell from the pictures. I’ve got a bad silver maple in my back yard that I’d like to get rid of, but sadly they’re not very good for lumber in my opinion.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3730 days

#2 posted 02-10-2011 05:08 PM

Nice looking tree.

View superstretch's profile


1531 posts in 2750 days

#3 posted 02-10-2011 05:13 PM

Thanks, my yard has several more like it, just not as stubby or gnarly.

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3243 posts in 3769 days

#4 posted 02-11-2011 03:55 AM


Can’t wait to see what you do with the tree. It looks like it could have some interesting grain near the base.


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

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