Thursday, April 3, 2008

On second thought...

I met this afternoon at the Marshall House with Ralph Higgins, a descendant of John Marshall and long time friend of the House, and Doug Welsh to consider the future of the now very large trees on the Marshall House landscape. We had requested a proposal from a local tree company to remove two trees and trim back the remainder. This was based on looking at a sketch of the property and a long time concern that the magnolias that flank the rear, especially the one pictured here on the west side are too large in that they: continually scrape the house fabric in a medium breeze, trap moisture and prevent sunlight from reaching both the foundation level and the brick exterior itself, and pose a threat in severe weather should they split or fall. The proposal that came back was exorbitant (in excess of $6K including stump grinding). Thus the on-site meeting today. The calculus once on site was very different. These are magnificent trees that dominant the landscape but are among the very few of their scale in the downtown area. Removing one, two or all would create a much different place and give the house a much different prospect. Before proceeding with outright removal, I plan to ask the tree company to provide one more estimate - this time to severely prune the large magnolia to allow for at least an 8 - 10 foot calm-wind buffer between the tree and the house. If this is affordable, we may have this done as an interim step before outright removal to see if there is away to preserve some of the shade and the park like setting around the house while achieving the goals mentioned above.

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