Thursday, March 21, 2013

Tree Service was here

It is hard to believe, but we have sixteen tall Queen Palms, two giant Washingtonias (another variety of palms) and four clumps of big strelitzia nicolai 'Giant Bird of Paradise' and eight phoenix roebelenii 'Pygmy Date Palms' in our small suburban garden. I love these evergreen tropical plants and really like them as a green background to my predominantly rose garden - Think what the yews are for the English folks my tropical plants are for me here in Southern California. The palms and strelitzias are growing fast though and therefore have to be cleaned up from time to time. Ours were more than due! Considering the number of plants that need to be taken care of it is a painfully expensive job, but we had to bite the bullet, it simply had to be done.

Ideally you should clean up Queen Palms and Washingtonias and the like once a year to have them always looking at their best, but because of the costs, we only have done it every second year up to now. Since the first clean-up, to reduce costs, I take care of all 'Pygmy Date Palms' myself (or sometimes I ask the gardener to cut back yellow fronds), which is possible since these palms are not getting that tall, you just have to stay on top of them to keep them looking nice. I also cut back all yellow leaves of the strelizia nicolais as far high up as I can reach, but the Queen Palms and especially the Washingtonias are so tall that someone has to climb up their trunks to remove the old palm fronds. For that job you certainly need a professional to come in and do it for you. And so last month I called a tree service.




This is how the front yard looked before the tree service crew came in. It is pretty obvious that the tall 'Queen Palms' are in need of a good hair cut. With a little bit of a heavy heart I decided to get rid of the 'Pygmy Date Palms' in the foreground on the left side of this photo.



Here is a picture that shows these 'Pygmy Date Palms' from the side. The one to the left is growing more and more into the sidewalk. These palms have very long thorns attached to their fronds and I was always concerned that they would poke a child, a dog or even worse a baby in a stroller. The one to the right is growing directly into our decorative wall. This variety of palms becomes approximately 10 - 15 ' tall, so things will only get more problematic, and even though I liked the nice green that they provided to the front yard, they had to go.



At times the yard looked like a war zone! You wonder how the garden will survive it! But it came through it surprisingly well, even the roses only showed very little damage from fallen palm fronds. Of course, it helped that they barely had started to leave out.



Can you believe that all the green material stored on top of the truck came from my garden only? 



The front yard after they were done. It looks a little bare, but the palms will grow back quickly and fill in again.



Unfortunately I didn't take "before" photos of the backyard. Here is a guy dangling very high with a saw in the 'Queen Palms'. I was getting already dizzy, when I just looked at him.



This used to be a group of four 'Queen Palms', but they were planted too close together. The fronds of the three big palms were always in each others way and never looked really nice or as elegant as 'Queen Palms' are supposed to look. So after much inner debate I decided to take one out. You can see the rest of the trunk in the middle between the small Queen Palm in the center of the group and the tall one to the very left.



The fronds of the palms and the strelitzias look big when they are on the plants, but how big they really are you only realize when they have been cut down and fallen to the ground. Carried out of the yard by this crew member you get a better idea if you compare the size of the fronds to the size of his body.



This was the most scary part for me. These Washingtonia Palms are so tall already and it looks quite dangerous watching the guy working on them that high up there.



Here he is almost done with the first Washingtonia Palm. I was glad when the pruning of the palms was over and he was back on the ground safely.



This photo was taken after the crew left. I think they did a great job.



The strelitzia nicolais look very good, too. Some of their biggest trunks were removed and now they let more light through.

I have hired Troy Muncrief, ASAP Tree Service, to do this job for me. I was working with him and his crew for the second time and have to say I was pretty happy with them. They were on time, reliable, professional, thorough, friendly, and cleaned-up well after they finished. Besides all that what I truly appreciate is that Troy really listens to what you want to get done, so there were no unwanted surprises afterwards. If you are looking for a good tree service in the San Diego area I would highly recommend him. Here is his contact information: (858) 487 1244 or (760) 480 1670.

Happy spring to everyone!

See you in the garden!

Christina



30 comments:

  1. A very nice informative site, your roses liked incredibly well ... I look like to us again, greeting Dani

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  2. Your palms and strelitzias are gorgeous Christina! They all look so neat now, job well done! It always amazes me how much material accumulates when you tidy up plants but regular maintenance is indeed the way to keep debris a minimum :)

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  3. What a great job the crew did. Heights scare me, and I can't imagine being up a palm tree like that. Your place is lovely.

    Happy Spring, Happy Gardening and Have a wonderful Easter ~ FlowerLady

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  4. Wow, the palm trees look good. But looking at the man on the hight palm tree, I'm scared... I relieved to hear that your roses were safe.
    By the way, you asked me about the white-grayish colored rose in my garden a couple of months ago, its name is "Glown Blue", It's a miniture rose. Sorry for the delay reply!

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  5. Hi Christina....boy do these photos take me back to San Diego!!! You sure have a lot of palms! The tree service did a great job. Would you mind telling me what part of San Diego you live in?

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  6. Your palm trees look very nice. That crew did a good job for when I see how he is up in the tree, brrr it scares me. When I see your roses and palm tree garden I wish we had some more sun, here we have still temperatures of around and below zero, there is almost no new growth to be seen in the roses. We have this time a very, very long winter.

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  7. Dani, welcome to my blog and thanks for your kind comment!

    Mark and Gaz, thanks, now that the "big palms" are looking good again, I will try to keep the 'Pygmy Date Palms' more tidy as well to match them. Worked on one yesterday and two trash bins are full of debris! Yikes!

    Lorraine, yesterday when I was out in the garden, I thought to myself again, that I am really happy with the work of the tree service. The palms are stretching their fronds out to the side already and don't look so stiff anymore like on the photos of this post. As I said they will grow fast into a more full shape.

    Keity, I was also more than happy that the roses came through the palm trimming job with so little damage. It was definitively helpful to schedule the tree trimming crew at the end of winter. Thanks for letting me know about the name of the whitish-grayish rose in your garden. I have never heard of this one and will look it up. I still remember that it was exquisite.

    Christy, yes, we have a somewhat typical looking San Diego backyard, don't we? It took me totally by surprise when I counted the number of palms in our yard for the first time. It seems a lot for a small suburban garden, but I don't feel that the yard is over-planted with tropicals. We are located in the Northern part of the city, very close to the boundary to Poway.

    Christina

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    1. Hi Christina.....Our last nine years in San Diego we lived in San Marcos. Our neighborhood looked very similar to yours!! It's nice to see a bit of San Diego!

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    2. Christy, I have been to San Marcos, it is a little bit further North of us. I went there to a huge antique mall. I am glad that my posts evoke nice memories of your old hometown!

      Christina

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  8. Sooo many palms and those huge strelitzia !!! You have a gorgeous garden, Christina !!!

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  9. Christina - thank you for visiting my blog. You commented on my lovely dark fertile soil - this time its my turn too swoon, how I wish for a garden in the sun filled with palms and tropical plants.
    My sister in law is from Asia and the first time I saw her shimmying up a coconut palm, I had to shut my eyes, they are some height!
    Those guys certainly did a good jo, its good to have a trusted and reliable tradesman to do work, what ever it is!

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  10. Liebe Christina,
    es ist wunderschön, wie ihr wohnt!
    Ich wußte garnicht, dass man auch Palmen
    beschneiden muss. Schade, dass ihr auch die Kleinen
    im Vorgarten entfernen musstet. Aber Sicherheit geht
    natürlich vor. Nicht dass sich wirklich mal jemand verletzt.
    Wenn ich deine Bilder so sehe, komme ich ins Schwärmen.
    Bei uns liegt immer noch tiefer Schnee. Und ich musste diese
    Woche zweimal bei ungeräumten Straßen zu Arbeit fahren.
    Bei 65 km ganz schön nervig und sehr anstrengend.
    Und das Ende März!!
    Ich wünsche dir jedenfalls ein wunderschönes Wochenende
    und ganz viele liebe Grüße Urte

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  11. Hi Christina,

    Those palm trees look so beautiful. I love them. They are everywhere in West Bengal, the state I originally come from in India. Do you eat the palm fruit. We have thousand one dishes with them!! Are those banana trees? Do you get banana fruit?

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  12. Janneke, thanks, I have been reading that it is very cold in Europe and that the winter just doesn't want to go away. Hope that it is warming up for you soon and the plants starts to thrive!

    Dani, thanks for your nice words about my garden!

    Angie, thanks for stopping by and also for becoming a follower. You are absolutely right it is such a relieve to work with trustworthy people.

    Urte, thanks for your nice comment! I have to admit I miss the little 'Pygmy Date Palms' in the front yard by now, but I hope that things are getting better when I have planted something new there. Sorry to hear that it is still so cold in Germany. I remember driving in ice and snow when I was still living there myself. No fun at all!

    KL, I am glad that you like our palms :-)! They produce a lot of fruits, but I have no clue if they are edible or not. No, we don't have banana trees in the garden, but what looks similar are strelitzia nicolai 'Giant Bird of Paradise'. As far as I know it is possible to grow bananas in San Diego though.

    Christina


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  13. A very beautiful place you live at Christina. Great there are people who are not affraid of highth. I would not climb in that tree.
    Have a wonderful day Christina.

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  14. Hi Christina,

    I think the garden looks great and the tree service did a nice work. I will keep their number handy for any future work in my garden. I got a little startled seeing that guy in the top of the tree--scary stuff. Anyway, taking a plant or tree out is a difficult decision but not when damage to the property or people is likely to happen! Jeannine

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  15. Your palms are gorgeous! So tall - quite majestic! I was wondering why you would remove the pygmy date palms from the front, until you explained about the thorns! Right decision.

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  16. Quelle maison, elle est vraiment magnifique entourée de cette flore tropicale. J'aime aussi beaucoup ces grands palmiers, ils sont toujours plus beaux une fois nettoyés. Quand je réside dans le Sud de la France, le parc de ma résidence est peuplé de grands palmiers qui sont nettoyés une fois par an et ensuite ils donnent un aspect impeccable. Tu habites dans un lieu paradisiaque convoité par beaucoup de personnes.
    Belle soirée jocelyne

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  17. Marijke, thanks, I feel very grateful to be able to live and garden where we are! I am actually also thankful for the men, who were willing to clean up our palms. We certainly could not do it, so without them the garden would not look as it does right now.

    Bleufleur, thanks for your comment!

    Jeannine, thank you very much, I also think that the tree service crew did a wonderful job. Especially the palms, look nicer with each passing day, since they are now starting to stretch out the fronds to the sides and take on a fuller look.

    Holley, it was the right decision to take out the Pygmys in the front yard for safety reasons, but boy do I miss them in terms of the look!

    Jocelyne, thanks for your very nice words about my garden and home! You are right palm trees do look their best, when cleaned up once a year, if only it wasn't so expensive.

    Christina

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  18. Thanks for sharing this. It looks quite spectacular on the screen so it must be even more so watching it on the spot. It's something not seen around here, no palms to be pruned, no palmtrees whatsoever, not the climate for it.
    I can imagine you were feeling relieved when the men were safely back on the ground again and the work was done.
    Happy spring to you as well!
    Marian

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  19. Marian, thanks for you comment. Watching the tree service crew at work was quite exciting, but not an excitement that I need to have every day ;-)!

    Christina

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  20. What a treat getting to see your palm trees. They are so exotic for me and I realized I never really thought of them as "trees" at all, but more as exotic plants. I had no idea that they require this type of trimming.

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  21. Rosemary, thanks, when we moved from Germany to California I thought exactly about palms like you do and also had no idea that they need regular pruning. It has been a very interesting learning process for me to get a better understanding about the plants that grow in this climate zone.

    Christina

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  22. Ciao Cristina, thank you for coming to leave me a comment. Your blog is very nice.
    Saluti
    Cristina and Laura

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  23. Cristina and Laura, thanks for visiting my blog, leaving and leaving a kind comment!

    Christina

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  24. Liebe Christina, erst einmal ein lieber Dank für deinen Kommentar ! Schön, dass du mich gefunden hast, denn nur so konnte ich dich finden *gg*.
    Das ist ja echt der Hammer - so einen blauen Himmel hätte ich hier ja auch gerne mal wieder :-( !!! Die Palmen sind wunderschön, aber das Pflegen hätte ich mir doch ein bisschen einfacher vorgestellt. Die Bananenstauden sind ja auch der Kracher - toll ! Gefällt mir total gut und ich habe mich auch ganz schnell als Leserin eingetragen, damit ich NIX mehr verpasse *lach* !
    Ich wünsch dir schöne und fröhliche Ostertage - denk an mich, wenn die Sonne bei euch so schön scheint !!! GLG, Christine

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  25. Christine, thanks very much for your nice comment and for becoming a follower! I am looking forward to read more about your garden on your blog, too. Happy Easter to you as well! By the way, the sun is not always shining here - we had a pretty hazy day today ;-).

    Christina

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  26. They have surely done a great and awesome job!

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  27. Nelson, thanks for your comment. I am also still very happy with the job that my tree service did :-)!

    Christina

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