Fourth Project: Removing Overgrown Trees

I had mentioned this in an earlier post.  This tree.  This massive palm tree in front of the house.  It has to go.  I’ve disliked it for quite a while.  When I bought the house, it was pretty large and it didn’t take long for me to see it was becoming a problem quickly.  The fronds would sit on the roof (which is widely known to be a cause of bug problems).  Additionally, it was blocking the view of the house, which annoyed me.

The previous owners were the ones who planted it, from a tiny potted plant from Home Depot.  They were amazed at how large it grew so quickly.  It was my plan for some time to make them an offer to pay for removal and transportation to their new house down the road.  But that would have to wait until the house was fully mine.

As it all turned out, the opportunity to gift them the tree never happened.  A neighbor of mine does my lawn work regularly and one month I didn’t feel like cutting the fronds on that beast and asked him to do it with his next lawn cut.  Now before I finish that story, let me talk about another unrelated tree story.

Another neighbor (next door) has some trees that hang over my property and drop dead branches all the time.  His house is generally abandoned so I couldn’t get a hold of him to tell him to cut his trees back.  So I hired a tree service of my own.  The lady that came out was a licensed arborist and chattered non-stop about every tree everywhere on my property.  The trees I was asking to trim, she said, were a horrible choice for a residence because once they get to certain age, they start falling apart, which is exactly what was happening with me.  When we walked around to the front of my house, she said in passing that a palm that size needs to have at least 18 fronds to provide enough nutrients to stay alive.

And you can probably guess now what happened when my neighbor (who is not an arborist) trimmed that palm.  I came home from work that day and saw the results and immediately said to myself, “oh no.”  There were maybe 4 or 5 fronds poking out the top.  And just like that, the tree died within a week.

I can’t really blame my neighbor and I never accused him of killing the tree.  I did want the tree gone anyway.  But now, I had to pay to have the tree removed.  I did have my neighbor get me the quote for removal (I figured he owed me that), which turned out to be less than I expected.  Along with that palm tree corpse, I was also going to have a couple of tall pines that were way out of scale for the house – and one was being choked to death by Spanish moss.  The total for removal, stump grinding and disposal was under $600.  I was expecting over $1000, so good for me.

I wanted to hold off on the removal until my former co-owner had moved out completely, but last weekend, my hand was forced.  The palm had rotted enough that it had broken in half and fell over.  So, although a dead tree in your front yard is a pretty bad eyesore, a toppled tree in your front yard is even more so.  Maybe it was the tropical storm that came through (and was actually pretty much a non-event) that blew it over.  I noticed it leaning in the days before it fell and it convinced me I needed to take action.  Not soon enough, though.

This is the palm back in its glory days (via Google Street View),


Then sans all fronds,


And in death,


And then removed,



This is how the other trees were:



And now they’re gone,