Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Men in Trees

I had a great morning yesterday. Instead of sweating on a rooftop, I got to sit in a shady backyard, watching three very expert men do an unusual job. I hired Urban Arborists to prune dead limbs off a locust tree in a client's brownstone garden. We'd been getting lots of fallen branches (one of them heavy enough to crush a skull) and it was obvious we'd have more unless something was done.

So Andreas climbed at least 70 feet up, tapping and sawing, removing the deadwood and sending it down, where Hernan and Gonzalo cut it up and hauled it off. They made it look so easy, but I wasn't fooled. This is a job where precision is crucial: choosing the branch to hold your weight, making proper cuts, sending large branches down without hitting garden plants or a neighbor's dog. And damn if they didn't clean up after themselves!

And here's the other thing I loved: they didn't do too much. Bill Logan owns Urban Arborists and he was my pruning teacher at the NYBG. I remember he said, "Don't try to impress a client by making a big pile of branches, prune only what needs to be pruned, leaving as natural a shape as possible." Which is exactly what these guys did. When you look up at the old locust tree today, you can't tell anything was done. Except there are no dead branches any more, and the backyard is a safer place to be. Imagine that, quality in today's world. What a pleasure.


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