Death of an Arizona Ash

Google Photos Album

When we came to look at this house during our house-shopping marathon back in 1997, the thing I noticed first was the giant tree in the backyard. A well-aged Arizona Ash that was visible from blocks away and served as a landmark for neighborhood travelers.

The previous owners hadn’t done the tree any favors and had blocked off view of the tree from the pool with a really ugly chain link fence. When we had the garage resided, we spent the money to have the fence blocking the view of the tree (and confining its roots) removed. I was planning on making it a feature of the backyard with a raised deck and seating around it, but that plan proved premature.

The tree that I fell in love with before falling in love with the house and yard it was in, died today. Rot that we had been warned might set in at the crotch of the tree (where the main branches or boughs of the tree come together into the trunk, all of which are considered the bole. I learned something today) had occurred despite our best efforts. I have noticed that several other trees of this type have experienced similar failures, and some owners had tried salvaging the remainder of the tree with varying degrees of success.

However, the limbs of the tree that were still upright threatened my house and my neighbors house, and the arborist we hired to assess the tree agreed that it was time to bring the whole tree down before the rest of it failed. It broke my heart, but we agreed to a price and the dismemberment began a few days later.

It was one of the most heartbreaking things to watch, so I tried not to spend too much time doing it. I did take a few documentary photos, linked above as a Google photos album. Other than that I hid inside the house and tried not to cry about a tree dying.


Before ten years had elapsed, even the flat stump of the tree had rotted away. There is almost no trace of the giant landmark that once stood there. There is a rather impressive Chinaberry tree growing right next to the place where it stood, a volunteer that we tried to kill a few times and then simply gave up. It has five boles (trunks) because we cut it down several times as a sapling before just giving up. There are a couple of Mimosa trees that are growing in the wrong places (over sewer lines) that we haven’t given up trying to kill, but they just won’t die, like the Chinaberry wouldn’t die. It’s going to have to come down to make way for other trees we’d prefer grew in the yard eventually. Right now it shades the garage, so we have left it alone.

Author: RAnthony

I'm a freethinking, unapologetic liberal. I'm a former CAD guru with an architectural fetish. I'm a happily married father. I'm also a disabled Meniere's sufferer.

Attacks on arguments offered are appreciated and awaited. Attacks on the author will be deleted.

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