The tree from hell, part 2

in homeowner •  16 days ago

I wrote about finally getting all the Belhambra's trunks cut down here and this week, I turned my attention to the giant base as that is the real culprit when it comes to the separating wall corners. A new wall was built on the outside of the old broken wall but the section on the left remained standing and fell down during the first felling and I wasn't up to dismantling a large slab of wall at the time. One of the reasons why the wall is so ugly on my side is because the new wall was built right next to the original wall so the building mix was impossible to smooth.

This week, we got down to the task of chipping off all the plaster and building cement from the old wall so that the bricks can be recycled. It's such a mission to bring things up and down the stairs that the time and cost of disposing of the old bricks and then buying new bricks to carry back up the stairs makes recycling the old wall a viable alternative because my house is not at street level and can only be accessed via stairs.

Once the slab of wall was gone, the true extent of the tree base was revealed and it was frightening:

belhambra monster.jpg

In total, we uncovered 4 giant roots the size of smallish tree trunks that needed severing and that was just the front left side of the tree. Here's one being cut that will give you an idea of the size of them.

belhambra roots.jpg

Fortunately this tree doesn't have a true woody tree structure, it is in fact just a giant weed and it's soft enough to chop through with an axe, although it still took quite a few hours, due to their size. Now I am in the process of stripping all the bark off the remaining above-ground parts as this will speed up the drying-out process and make it impossible for the base to form new shoots. The sections where we severed the roots will need to be monitored for shoots and they will need to be removed as soon as they emerge. In this way, the roots will use up their stores and the tree will die.

Belhambra trees are very impressive but they are such a terrible job to get rid of, if anyone is considering planting one, all I can say is: Don't!

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That is a beast of a tree, probably more suitable for acreage and not so much next to a brick wall.

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Yes, they are native to the pampas of South America and cattle herders live under them

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Oh God Nik, that's quite some trouble you got there. How are you going to remove them? In the other hand, good idea reciclying those bricks, you can save money and rusty bricks looks amazing. Maybe you can use a few to make a small garden?

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I need to build a wall inside the house so I will use the bricks there. Once it is a little drier, I will make a fire on top of the base using the cut logs which should speed things up. Then it will be chop, chop, chop

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Oh god! And is it possible to grow while you wait? Can't imagine how big it is, it looks huge from here.

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It is huge and it will keep growing if I don't keep attacking it

Those roots are massive!!!

Do you plan to remove the whole tree after it is dead?

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Yes, I want to make a dry house for my succulents in that corner

Can these trees be used as herbs?

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Unfortunately not. It is in fact slightly poisonous and makes your skin itch

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Oh really? Then am off from it.

My goodness, dynamite may not be enough.

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Fortunately it doesn't have a true woody structure so it is much easier to chop at than a normal tree. I will make a fire on the base to speed things up. It will take time, but I am obstinate enough to finish the job

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A fire video would be nice....

Amazing giant weeds! Definitely I will not plant this tree!

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The previous generation in our country didn't know any better and now, 20-30 years later, we are left trying to rid ourselves of these pests

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Oh! No! If these could be eaten, they would have been controlled! We have two kinds of trees which can grow very fast. Luckily their young leaves and seeds can be eaten! So, they can never grow too big!! Except those growing in the woods.
I’ll try to show you some pictures.

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This is probably an old tree, so the roots are so huge. They grew so big in search of moisture from the ground.

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Not so old, probably not more than 20 years, they grow very fast

Oh!!!
Here are the roots!
I have never seen such huge roots !!!
Yes, your work is laborious.

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The roots are unique

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Yes, I agree with you!

That is quite a job! I have heard of people drilling holes into a tree stump and pouring in Epsom salt to kill it.

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This tree is known to be impervious to most of the common-tree-killing methods. Mechanical removal is pretty much the only way

Guess it’s a bad idea to plant a giant weed.... Nice work, Nik! I would have given up after a few chops! 😂

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Giving up is not an option - like the Terminator, this tree will be back. The chopping was done by my friend Thomas over a few days, it's exhausting

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Lol, poor you and that stubborn tree weed. I like your posts about stuff going on your life btw. Can I put in a request that you share a bit more of your surrounds when you can be bothered? I’ve always wanted to visit South Africa, but I know I’ll never get there. My husband thinks I’ll be carjacked the moment I get outside the airport. I assume it’s not that bad?

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Sure, happy to oblige - if you want to see life in a relatively poor, inner-city suburb, that is. I have no idea what impression that will create and life here certainly isn't boring. No, it's not that bad but it isn't great either. If you are bored enough to scroll through my blog, you'll see quite a few posts about life in Johannesburg. I do them from time to time but I could definitely make new ones soon

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It matters not if it’s poor, probably more interesting than seeing a line mansions and manicured lawn.

I’m genuinely interested in reading more of your South African home. Two regions in the world I’d love to visit, the African continent and the Middle East. But it’s unlikely going to happen. Not that hubby is forbidding South Africa, but we make decisions on everything together and go everywhere together. Since he feels strongly against, I respect his wishes. It’s always so interesting to listen to South Africans talk about their country in Australia. To me, it seems like there’s always an underlying hardness. But I would think it would be a fascinating place to live, if but a little stressful. So I’m curious to learn more about the cat lady who shares the wildflower and nature posties. You follow a blog long enough, you get curious, or at least I do. I’m nosy. 😂