I’ve been a tree surgeon for twenty-odd years, and I’ve done everything you can do to trees. I’ve lopped ‘em, felled ‘em, pruned ‘em and trimmed ‘em. I’ve grinded and removed tree stumps and I’ve even banquished garden gnomes. Every year I relish a different part of the job.
When I first started out tree lopping, Melbourne trees were really bit at the time. It was the nineties and there were a lot of activists around preventing any harm to trees. We had a few confrontations with some greenies who were trying to rescue a tree on a main road. I pointed to the canopy and said, ‘That thing is devouring the power lines!’ But they had no care for fire hazards. All they cared about was the poor tree. So back in those days my favourite part of the job was trimming because the greenies were just such a pain when it came to tree lopping.
In the early naughties, tree pruning around Melbourne was becoming slim business. There was a drought at the time and the shrubs were simply not flourishing. All you could see was bare naked twigs sticking out from people’s yards. And because everything looked so ugly, everyone wanted to get rid of their stumps. But stump removal was really hard work,k so I got an apprentice to help me do it. Every time he did it I’d tell him he wasn’t quite doing it right and that he needed more practice. That way I never had to do much stump grinding myself. It was about this times that my favourite part of the job was pulling out a fold out chair and sitting back, watching my apprentice do all the world.
These days, my favourite part of the job is quite simple really, it’s knocking off. I crack open a can of soda and put my feet up at the end of the day, and that is the best thing in the world.