The Ailanthus altissima is misnamed the ‘Tree of Heaven’. Instead, its name should be the “Tree from Hell”. Some people call it a Chinese sumac since it was imported from China to Europe the 1700s. The Ailanthus is tough and tolerant to pollution. It was brought to Philadelphia in the late 1700s.
Ailanthus tree removal jobs are more difficult because the tree’s limbs are dense, heavy, and brittle. The trees constantly have to be trimmed each year since they grow so fast. The Ailanthus is considered a trash tree since it grows fast, spouts everywhere, and stinks to high heaven in the spring. This is a big price to pay for fast growth and quick shade.
DLC Arbor and Landscape were hired to remove an Ailanthus tree and to re-landscape the yard. After the tree was removed, the stump at ground level was enormous. Cutting the tree down was the easy part. Removing the stump began a two-week epic effort in manpower, damaged equipment, and exasperation.
Over the years, the tree had grown over a steel fence post. After digging around the base of the stump, we found it rested upon an old abandoned sidewalk. To make things interesting, there were two pieces of rebar in the middle of the tree stump. We have no idea how the rebar got into the tree. Maybe someone 50 years ago tried to drive two stakes in the heart of this devil of a tree!
A stump removing machine is powerful and intimating looking. It looks like a 12 foot chainsaw on steroids with wheels. It moves like a massive ground sloth. The cutting blade has large steel tipped teeth. In one pass, this formidable machine was broken. Stump removing machines can not easily grind stumps embedded with steel rebar and growing over a buried concrete sidewalk. Click here for more information about stump grinding.
Mike Naes, the owner of DLC, came back with another stump grinder. Over two days we ground down on the stump one pass at a time. My job was to blow the debris away with a sidewalk blower while Mike carefully ground the wood away from the rebar and concrete. Once exposed, the old sidewalk under the tree was broken into pieces by sledge hammers. It was quite the workout.
On the second day, a large skid loader was used to bust up the remaining stump. We really appreciate Mike Naes and his staff’s dedication in removing this difficult stump. The tree is gone, but this devil did not go easy. It would not be surprising if it sprouts again with vengeance this spring in my brand new landscape!