Final cut – Beetle infestation spells the end for 110-foot, century-old tree |

Final cut – Beetle infestation spells the end for 110-foot, century-old tree

Jim Norman would have rather done it himself, but recent leg surgery prevented him Monday from taking off the top of a dying 110-foot pine tree towering near the house of Bruce Doan.

So Norman had to supervise from the ground as his Trees Unlimited crew – with the help of a 100-ton crane brought in from Sacramento – cut down the century-old tree in the 12000 block of Rough and Ready Highway near Grass Valley.

Doan, who was a safe distance from the house and taking pictures as the crew set up its equipment, said the tree was the victim of a red turpentine beetle infestation. Because the tree practically brushed the back of the two-bedroom house, it had to go.

“I don’t know who would build a house that close to the tree,” he said.

Norman, who said his firm specializes in removing large trees, spent the morning taking down a 100-foot cedar that was endangering a home on Zion Street in Nevada City.

He has been doing the work for more than 20 years, but said, “You get a real adrenaline rush” cutting down a big tree. “I’d be doing it today but I had leg surgery recently.”

The crane had to hover over Doan’s house to remove the tree section by section. Nobody was in the house during the three-hour operation.

“I asked my insurer if I’m insured if a tree keeps hitting my house over and over and over again,” Doan said.

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