I have two trees at the bottom of my garden. One is a gnarled, ancient-looking apple tree that normally produces a lot of apples in the summer, apart from last year where the Narnian conditions did not do it any favours. It currently houses several nests of bees and apart from the occasional woolly aphid problem seems OK.
The other is a Staghorn Sumac, native to North America. There is only one other in my town that I'm aware of. It produces leaves that go bright red in Autumn, along with weird looking husks. It's not the most beautiful of trees for most of the year, but the Autumn makes up for it. Last year it didn't produce any leaves until August, and I was a bit worried that a creeping plant was starting to leech into it. I got rid of the creeper but this year was the same. The other Staghorn that I notice on the way to work every day had a full set of leaves a couple of months ago. Mine has been struggling to get any, even by late July. And worse still, I was starting to get the impression it was gradually falling over.
I phoned a tree surgeon on Wednesday who said he could come round Thursday evening. But by Thursday afternoon I looked out of my window to this.
The tree surgeon just got his chainsaw and sawed it into bits. It was kind of awful to watch. Then he took it away. I kept a bit of the stump and counted the rings. There were 16.