I had a Monterey Pine (Pinus radiata) in my back yard that died this winter. The sad part is that I didn't notice it until my neighbor pointed it out to me. How could I not notice a giant dead tree in my backyard? Well, here is the view I usually see - the trunk (the dead one is the one on the right).
I guess I just don't gaze skyward that often from my patio. This is what the crown looked like, and it was definitely dead.
Everyone had an opinion on what happened. The neighbor, who is like Middle Age Man from SNL, thinks it was pine beetles, although there was no indication of them and this species isn't listed as one of the targeted trees. The tree removal guy thought it was just age: when it's time to go, it's time to go, even for trees. The few web sites I perused on this species note that there is a fungus killing this tree, but I found no indications of that, so I am going with "age" as the reason for its death.
I am not particularly upset. While I like trees, I thought this one wasn't very pretty and it wreaked havoc with my fence and my plumb tree, which I am particularly fond of. So from both a need and a landscaping perspective, I had a crew come in this morning and take it down. They started cutting from the crown. Note the utility lines going through the tree (cable and phone, but no electrical), so once the crown is gone they cut it back further to get it away from the utility lines.
Now it was ready for the coup de gras:
By my estimates the tree was 38 years old, which is about the age of the house.
The whole process took only 2.5 hours of constant chain sawing, so hopefully the neighbors weren't too annoyed. I am going to replace the fence and re-landscape the backyard later this summer, so I left the stump in until that project gets going.