To put up fences, we need to remove the privet. And to remove the privet, we need to remove the old, dead Prunus at the back:
The previous owners made a perfunctory (as always) attempt to remove it, then tried to hide it with that lovely wine-red Acer:
But at the very least the rest of the top growth needs to come down; ideally, I’d also come up with a plan for removing the (majority of the) root ball. Even if that plan is: hire a stump grinder at a later date!
The immediate good news was that much of the top growth was removable by muscle power alone; it had rotted until it had a brittle, biscuit-y quality: so much so that I’m quite glad I brought it down, as it wasn’t likely to support its own weight much longer.
The bole was the only part that hadn’t entirely rotted (12-inch boot in picture for scale):
Shortly after I sawed through it, my neighbour asked if I wanted to borrow his chainsaw. But the next cuttings would really be best made with an axe, as they were all below the soil level.
I was able to hack through, and entirely remove, two long roots about twenty centimetres in diameter:
Both roots had been travelling under the privet, so I’ve hopefully made the removal of that a lot easier in the future.
All of this effort left me with a mixed pile of rotted and unrotted wood:
(I’ve set aside the unrotted bole, possibly for seasoning and burning.)
After tidying and replanting some Crocosmia, there was still a substantial root ball in place:
But at least it lets us move ahead with the next step of the plan, and gives us some ideas of the likely job ahead of us when we do eventually landscape this area (we’ll likely need a stump grinder.)
And that Acer? Well, we’re already getting rid of the apple tree, which is full of blossom. So the Acer will likely survive this round of landscaping, at least; assuming it can keep out of the way of the privet removal…!