The sad demise of my 75-year-old Norway maple 

The tree in its glory in November 2020   Photo: Rochelle Handelman

By Rochelle Handelman

I am sad to report that my 75-year-old Norway maple tree had to be removed last fall in the midst of the pandemic’s second wave. The tree was large and provided wonderful shade in summer for me and my neighbour Barbara over the years.

The tree had required trimming and cabling to keep our houses safe from falling branches. Then last year, irreparable damage was found in one of its scaffold or main branches, meaning the tree had to be removed. The city forester confirmed the need. In North America, the average life expectancy of Norway maples is about 60 years, so my tree had surpassed its useful life.

The process of removal was surprisingly onerous. I had to do a lot of paperwork, obtain permission from the city and my neighbour and also get permission from my neighbour to put a crane on her property. This all took a flurry of emails over several weeks.

COVID-19 also slowed the process. The crane operator tested positive the day before the scheduled removal, hence a further two-week wait. Removal day finally arrived. The crane operator, a team of arborists and many neighbours were present to observe.

I enjoyed the tree since moving into my house in 1982, and neighbour Barb, who is in her seventies and has lived in her home since childhood, remembers the tree from early days. We will both miss the tree and its shade in summer – but I know our houses are now safe.


Rochelle Handelman is a long-time Glebite, active in needlework and a member of the board of directors of the Glebe Community Association.

The author’s 75-year-old Norway maple came down this past fall, in the midst of the pandemic.  
Photos: Paul Hargadon

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