Sunday, November 15, 2009


There is such beauty in the tree filled forest and we love our tree lined streets and mature tree filled neighborhood. But trees drama filled our week and today when I look at the trees in our yard, they come with a price tag, and a mighty big one at that!

When we buy these cute little trees in 5 and 10 gallon black plastic pots, we don’t picture them as 20-30 ft. giants, dropping binfuls of leaves, piles of spikey things, or pods with seeds that explode all over the yard.
We plant them close together in a grouping that look so nice, and don’t foresee that they will grow up bumping into each other and jabbing each other like siblings sitting next to one another in the back of a car.

Did you know that a tree greater than 40 inches in diameter needs permission by way too many people to be cut down? Did you know that a 20-30 foot giant can cost several thousands of dollars to remove? I learned this week that removing a tree, can, like many other home improvements, lead to problems you could not even have imagined!
Our locust tree, with its bright golden autumn foliage has seen its last days. Half dead, with brittle branches, it stood waiting to be taken down.
The city however, has its own ideas. “Was an arborist consulted?” they asked. “How do you know it is dead?” “Can it be saved?” With these answers in hand, they were to meet as a staff group to assess this request and in 2 weeks a verdict would be handed down. Perhaps they should reconsider this process to be one in which a staff committee decides whether and where a tree should be planted.

What they failed to ask was, “Do you know what is under it?” “Did your pipes come before the tree, and if so why on earth would the previous owner plant a tree right on top of the gas and main water pipe?” If they had asked the right questions, they could have made my $40 permit worthwhile and have avoided a lot of unnecessary anguish.

Dear Mr. P, the previous owner who so lovingly designed the landscaping. What were you thinking? That tree roots could wind their way around the big pipe and feel secure? Perhaps that pipes would hold the tree up to be stabile? Maybe that gushing water in the pipes would hold good karma for a growing tree? Whatever the reason, it worked, because this tree grew to be a giant and under it still stood, the big white pvc pipe that carries water in to our house. And on the day of its death, the stump grinder took the remains of its stump and the great white pvc with it, sending a fountain of water high up in to the air to proclaim its removal. And thus the saga began.....

Plumber A, B, C , and PGE. Huge hole dug and big white pvc repaired. Other pipe unknown as to whether it carries gas or not - further investigation needed. Tree company disclaimer - not responsible for any lines under the ground. Cost - unknown. Moral of the story -- don’t plant trees on pvc pipes and find out what lurks beneath those roots.


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