Ahhh, I found someone else who's mature Monkey Puzzle Tree died - like our 90 + yr old tree has died. Big hat tip to blog That and This for providing an account of demise of the tree, decision to take it down (fell it), along with great accompanying photos and links.
Last spring/summer season I knew our Monkey Puzzle Tree was dead beyond dead. Sweetie was unwilling to let go and acknowledge the tree was a goner - no more - the one almost green instead of brown branch just wasn't enough life to save the tree. This spring/summer he acknowledges it is dead and we need to bring it down.
I honestly do not know the habit of this tree in it's natural setting when it finally does die and have been trying to find out. Does it fall, does it remain standing and if so how long before it falls of it's own accord. The neighbors seem to think because it is so old, so rooted that it is unlikely to ever fall. I think if it did fall it would take out the entire street corner, and then which way would it fall - on our house - which neighbor's house??
We are talking now about having it felled and leaving enough stump to have a totem carved out of what is left. We are being told that we should think about selling the wood as it is highly valued in some places. We are told the wood is too difficult to carve and the totem pole idea does not have merit. One way or the other though, I think the tree needs to come down.
Which is why the blog account at That and this was such a good find for me... thanks!
photo 2000 of the real estate listing for the house, shows the Monkey Puzzle Tree as it was. We bought the house in Nov 2002, and the lower limbs were already straggly and looking sickly. Our neighbor was willing to cut the lower limbs in early spring 2003 (a decision I made that I didn't consult with Sweetie about first and he was very, very unhappy about it). Because the tree was planted on what over the next 90 years would become a paved intersection in our small fishing village, the largess of the tree caused a blind spot for traffic making turns at that corner. Losing the lower limbs opened up visibility at the intersection. But, and it may or may not be related, the tree seemed to quickly lose what vitality it had and began the process of dying.
2005 spring/summer season photo of our dying (dead) 90 + year old Monkey Puzzle Tree (The Araucaria Family: Araucariaceae)
Winter 2006 photo of what is now clearly a dead monkey puzzle tree - all that is left is trunk and limbs and that green at the very tippy top - the last breath of hope of life for the tree - by spring it was brown.