Hickory and Lessons Learned by Joe Gannon

A spring windstorm late last year removed the top from a tree ten feet from our house.  The house was spared from damage.  The tree was dead where it stood.  Though handy in the woods, I’m not one that can identify a tree based on bark and shape alone.  I need leaves to make my arboreal diagnosis.  The topless trunk sat idle all summer, into fall and winter, before I thought it time to rid the yard of his threat.  A good friend gave me a hand at dropping the 100 foot by 3 foot diameter telephone pole shaped spire.  He showed me how old timers used gunning sticks and cutting techniques only a surgeon could appreciate to drop trees on top of hats.   I needed to just avoid two “good” trees and the kids’ tree house.  As two nervous, albeit excited, little ones watched through sliding glass doors from the safety of the living room, I managed to drop that tree exactly on the spot.  The log thumped heavy on the ground.  A faint echo of the saw and a waft of 2-stroke held in the air as my buddy remarked, “That’s a hickory. Good luck splitting that…