On June 18, we had a pretty fierce storm blow through Chicago, which brought rain and high winds to our neighborhood. When everything was calm, we assessed the area around our condo buildings and found that a large branch from one of our trees had broken off and fallen into the street.

Storm-damaged Tree (6/18/10)

I'm the kind of person who loves what little natural growth we have here in the city, so this really bummed me out. Big time. This particular elm tree had tree different "spurs" running off the main trunk. The storm had broken one of those spurs away from the connection with another, in effect destroying 2/3 of the tree growth.  On a side note, this is one of the many "beverage review trees" I use for photography on BevReview.com.

Please read my note!

Knowing how crazy Chicago's Streets & Sanitation Department is when it comes to trees (i.e. they like to just cut everything down, it's easier), I attempted to label the broken limb of the tree so that when crews did come out to clean up the mess, they would only remove the damaged portion.  (Technically, these trees sit on a parkways that are the domain of the city).

2/3 of the tree removed by city

When I talked with one Streets crew that dropped by after the storm, they felt the entire tree had to go.  These trees were planted when our condo was built, which makes them approximately 10-12 years old.  However, when crews eventually removed the damaged portion, they removed the fallen limb and the other spur that it pulled away from (because it was unstable).  However, they left the rest of the tree standing.

Amy is the president of our condo association, so exterior issues like this come under her jurisdiction.  We talked about having a tree service come out and take a look at the damaged tree, as well as the 5 others on property.  These trees had not been pruned since we lived here.  We felt it might be a good idea to get a professional opinion about what to do with the damaged tree, as well as to get a quote on trimming up the other trees, which would clean out dead branches, raise their "canopies" to not touch parked cars, and remove some branches from touching the roof of our condo buildings.

Owner Ron Finn

After talking to two tree service firms, both concluded that the tree could be saved and just needed to be trimmed.  It didn't pose a structural damage threat to the building or parked cars.  After many appointments, red tape, board votes, and quotes, we finally got the trees trimmed here in August.  We used Finn Tree Service out of Palatine, owned by Ron Finn who came out himself to climb the trees and trim that.  I should note that Ron is 73 years old!

Crew trims the trees

It was amazing to watch this guy fly up a tree with ropes and a chain saw like it was nothing.  I talked to him a bit about how he got into tree trimming.  He told me that after "the War" he got a desk job… and hated it.  So he thought he'd try his hand at working in trees… and has been doing it every since.

Cleaning up the debris

Overall, they did a nice job on the condo property.  The damaged tree was cleaned up and pruned back… and frankly, looks pretty skimpy now.  We'll see what happens to it long-term.  Over time, it will fill out, but that will take a while.  Still, I'd like to see what will happen to it rather than just hacking it down.  The alternative is growing a pencil-thin replacement tree planted by the city.  We already have one of those on property.  No thanks.

Final result after tree trimming

The "tree situation" seems to have been something that has taken up a lot of our summer, ironically.  I'm glad it's finally taken care of, however I'm still quite saddened by the damage the tree experienced.  Go figure.