There's a saying you might have heard, and it goes like this: "The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now."
And that's a great sentiment. Unless you're looking out at a thirty year-old tree whose root system is slowly but surely destroying your home.
There's a huge white maple tree growing between our back porch and the tool shed, and it's been there since my wife purchased this house over 23 years ago. This particular species of maple grows very rapidly, which is why they were favored by landscapers and home contractors back in the day. You could plant one of these in a bare yard, and by the time prospective homeowners came by for the first realty showing there would be a thriving tree for them to admire.
About ten years ago I purchased two red maples for our front yard, and they're doing fine. Three summers ago I transplanted four maple sprigs from our garden after that huge white maple in the back had deposited helicopter seeds into the mushroom dirt. Those transplanted white maple seedlings are now the same size as the red maples I paid $100 each for a decade ago. And they seem to grow several feet a day, lately.
The reason I mention any of this is because that lovely tree in the backyard is destroying our home. I've written previously about the problems we've had with our tile on the screened in back porch, how the grout constantly cracks and allows rainwater to seep into the backing boards and subflooring on the deck. How we've had said tile replaced and regrouted three times on that six year old porch. And how it's badly in need of repair again. For the longest time I just assumed the back deck was constructed over an Indian burial ground or some other unlucky piece of suburban dirt. Now I'm convinced that maple tree's root system is causing all of our problems.
There are cracks in the mortar and brickwork of our home, and they seem to be getting worse in this stifling heat and humidity. The mirror and vanity have pulled away from the wall in one of our bathrooms... the bathroom that faces that maple tree in the back yard. My lovely and dangerous wife is beginning to make noises about cutting the tree down to prevent further damage, even though most tree people will tell you the root system will continue to grow for a long time after the tree has been removed.
I don't want to cut down the big tree. It's a great source of shade for the back yard. Holds about half a dozen of my bird feeders, too. If it weren't back there, the yard would look barren and the temp on the back porch would soar from the direct sunlight. I want to keep the tree... even if it's destroying the house.
Actually, I want to win the Powerball drawing, sell what's left of our house to someone who will love looking out at that monster maple, while we move away to our log home in the mountains.
So far my plan isn't showing any sign of progress. The Powerball gods must be dyslexic, or just obtuse, because none of our numbers ever fall.
Meanwhile, the porch is crumbling away and the walls are cracking apart.
But it's a great tree...