About seven years ago we noticed some cracks in the large trunks and became concerned that a strong storm could knock it down. We called a ‘professional’ to have a look. He said it was still OK, but recommended we cut it down because it was a Hackberry which he called a “trash tree.” What??? Trash? Well one person’s trash is someone else’s treasure and that tree was our treasure. His price to cut it down was VERY high. We thanked him and sent him on his way. We did have another fellow out to give us an estimate to cut it down – his price was very, very low. But our heart was not in that and we just had him trim it some and he did a good job. The next year we noticed that our tree began to leak sap all over our cars. Each year it got worse. Then, through the power of the Internet, we discovered the “sap” was the “honeydew” from aphids feeding. Yep, sap that had passed through the aphids. I bought some ladybugs to try to control them – didn’t work.
Two years ago the portion that had the trunk that wrapped around the other trunk, died. Just like that. Earlier that spring I had noticed a fungus at the base that was white and black. I just scrapped it away. We cut the top off but left the trunk because I thought it might be supporting one of the branches of the trunk next to it. Last Spring we were standing in the drive and my youngest daughter leaned against the trunk and it broke off at ground level. The base was like sawdust. Yikes.
Over the years the cracks in the trunk had been getting larger and we kept debating about having it cut down. But we loved that tree and couldn’t bear to do it. But last year, after that trunk broke off we called the fellow out who had done the trimming. I was going to have our tree cut down. But when he arrived, I just couldn’t do it. We had him do a major trimming of all the lower branches and also trimmed it out away from the house. Basically, he lifted it up, thinned it out, and trimmed all the way around the crown. Again, he did a good job. Cheryl kept saying some day we would be sorry when the tree fell on our cars or on the house. But she loved it too and understood my reluctance.
A few weeks ago I noticed the portion closest to the driveway was looking a little puny on top. The leaves were sparse and looked sick. Then I noticed the dreaded gunk around the base of the trunk.
I couldn’t help but make an analogy to my disease and some other types of cancer. Outwardly everything looks good. For a long time the tree really did look healthy and even the day it was cut down it still looked pretty good. People walking or driving by and glancing at that tree had no idea. It looked very healthy. But it was what was going on at the base, in its “marrow” that told the true story. There was a fungus, a disease, a cancer eating away at the core of that tree. Perhaps if I had treated the disease sooner, or with a different type of medicine, I could have saved it. Maybe, maybe not. But it is too late now. Choices were made and there is no going back. That tree brought shade, beauty and pleasure for many years. Now it is gone, but the good memories remain. The yard looks very different, but it is time to move on. No more aphid poop dripping on my car.
So, what is going on with me? A recent X-ray shows the pneumonia is gone. That was a strange episode. I see Dr. Netaji, my hem/onc doc next Monday.
As always, your prayers and well wishes are greatly appreciated.