Leaving aside how sad and angry this makes me... The megacorporation electric company has notified us that they will be clear-cutting the right-of-way along their transmission lines, behind our neighborhood. Surprisingly, the R.O.W. extends about 1/4 of the way into the back of our one-acre yard. (Why the lawyer didn't inform us of this possibility when we were buying the house a couple of years ago, is another dark joke, presumably!) This three-state, multi-year juggernaut has arrived, and is literally looming over us, since they've staged the trucks on the next hill over.
Currently, there is a long row of 20? ft evergreens, as well as our only oak tree; beech, maple, spruce and several other mature shade trees in this area. Until now, they screened the power lines almost entirely from view of the house. They are graciously allowing us to keep a birch and a couple of cedars and ornamentals.
The utility will take the trees away, or if we prefer, they will leave some, or all, in log lengths of 18-22 ft. I presume they could also leave the limbs and branches, or the chips if they're chipping them - but I'd have to check on that. They cut the trees to ground level, but don't bother to stump them. The ground slopes at a grade of about 8-10%, from the front of the yard down to the R.O.W. area - so we'd be bringing materials uphill if we moved it far.
Tree trunks of that size must weigh a few thousand pounds, so we'd need to chainsaw them, presumably, before we could do anything with them? We'd have to rent any equipment needed- and we might have a problem getting a truck down there due to the septic galleries bisecting the back yard - can't be driven over. It's just myself and the better half, 40 years old and not as fit as we should be, all gardening aside.
If they can leave wood chips, I can certainly find a use for those. We have a 10 foot pile of branches already, just due to deadwood falling all over the yard. We've only used it for bonfires, so far. Slackers! We have a fireplace, but don't anticipate wanting more than a small amount of firewood. Oak chips or logs could grow mushrooms, perhaps?
Logs could form raised bed borders, and I'm sure hugelkultur mounds/beds will be suggested. I would consider that, since it's way at the back of the yard, but only if they won't pose a significant termite risk. Are there other good uses for the slain bodies of our sylvan sentinels?
I know that letting them take away the trees, removes nutrients and biomass that grew from the site. I imagine we don't have the energy/equipment to utilize more than a portion of the "forest products" they are creating, but I'd like to try to do what we can.
I will update with more details of exact numbers and tree species soon, if that helps. I should be able to talk to the utility contact about the details of what they will and won't do, on Monday. We have to tell them what we want to do, in the next week or two.
Thanks to anyone reading this long post, and much appreciation for any advice you have. Anybody have experience with a situation like this?