When you have beautiful but huge, shade-providing, 50 year old trees, you have to worry about things like this happening.
Usually, though, you worry about things like this during ice storms (like Nov. 2006 when we were displaced from our home for 7 days because a utility pole snapped and hit our house) or during violent downburst storms (like in summer of 2000 when when lightening struck our neighbor’s big tree and fell about a fourth of the tree a mere 10 feet from our bedroom). But usually, things like this don’t happen on muggy, perfectly still evenings like Saturday night was.
Fortunately for us, this happened sometime between 8:30 and 9:00 Saturday night. We were all still awake, and when the branch landed on the roof it shook the whole house. Now, I’m trying not to freak out, but I just keep thinking, what if… what if this had happened at 10:30 in the morning when we’re likely to be outside. You can’t tell from the pictures, but our patio is just on the other side of the tree. The girls are constantly playing in that area under the three because it stands between the patio and the house–they run to and from the garage bringing out toys and things. Basically, we’re right there all the time.
I thank God that this happened when we were all safe inside, but this doesn’t ease my apprehension about being outside. That branch was perfectly healthy when it fell. There was absolutely no indication that it was going to fall– no rain, no wind, nothing. Just down it went. Our neighbor’s tree also lost a formidable, perfectly healthy branch a few weeks ago. Our sister in law’s windshield was shattered by a branch that fell as well, but that was during a storm. Why are these good trees dropping huge limbs? John’s theory is that that it has been such a good summer for plants (plenty of rain and not too hot until recently) that the foilage is just getting really heavy. If he’s right, it would explain why our backyard has been gloriously comfortable all summer, until, you know, the threat of being crushed under a massive, falling branch.
We love spending time in our back yard. It’s one of our favorite things about our home. And now I’m a little more than freaked about going back there, and I don’t really scare easily. We will most likely have the tree taken down, which means that we’re going to lose a lot of really good shade, but when it comes to protecting the family, it’s a small sacrifice.
A question for my loyal readers: Will homeowner’s insurance cover the damage or perhaps pay for the tree to be taken down since it is clearly a healthy tree? [We’re pretty certain that it would not cover the damage if the tree were dead/diseased, because then we would be negligable in not having it taken down before the branch fell. But what if it was a healthy tree with no signs of damage?] Any body who has any info about this, please feel free to comment.