Friday, May 11, 2007


Slag and I have bought ourselves a tree. We didn’t start out planning to buy a tree. No, initially, we only wanted to remove the one dead peach tree. The peach tree finally went belly-up after suffering through alternating seasons of total neglect and over-enthusiastic pruning. Last year there were still a few signs of life on the very ends of the recently pruned branches. It looked sort of like a “Dr. Seuss” tree: long, skinny, bare branches with little fluffy balls of green foliage on the ends. This year there’s nothing, not one green leaf, not a single blossom. It’s dead as a doornail. Whatever. We’re strictly Darwinian horticulturists around here. There are no hand-holding, pampering, attentive ministerings in our yard. If it can’t survive on its own, it’s going to die. End of story. (Except for Slag’s tomatoes, of course. If he could bring them in the house on stormy nights and tuck them into bed with little blankets to keep them warm, I know he would.)

So the dead tree needs to be removed. It’s pretty ugly. Plus if we allow it to stay, it will only become a home for insects, and the insects have enough homes around here as it is. But then we thought we should be efficient and practical. If we’re going to have somebody out here cutting down a tree, we may as well have them take out that one cedar tree too. The one that’s hanging too far over the studio and is one good thunderstorm away from falling on the roof. And while we’re at it, why don’t we just get rid of all the cedar trees? We don’t like them anyway, and we’ve talked about getting rid of them before. We may as well kill all the birds with one stone, so to speak. Why not?? Let’s just denude the entire back yard! What an excellent idea! We are smart! Yay for us!

The “yard denuding” is scheduled for next week. We checked with the homeowners association and the city, making sure it was OK for us to cut down all those trees. Nobody has a problem with it. They’re cedar trees after all, and nobody worries about preserving them. They’re everywhere. But we have one neighbor who’s going to totally freak. I just know it. He doesn’t believe in cutting anything, ever. He prefers that his house be surrounded by as much plant life as possible. OK, he does cut the grass. Twice a year. Whether it needs it or not.

I usually trim the shrubs on one side of his house when they grow so large and so far into our yard that WE can’t get past them. Everything else just goes wild. That plus the fact that this same neighbor doesn’t believe in window treatments gives his house that “abandoned” look. A pizza delivery guy once asked me if anyone lived there. Trust me, dude, it’s occupied. If nobody lived there, I would mow the yard myself, just so I wouldn’t have to look at it anymore.

So anyway, to get back to my original point, we have bought one hardwood tree to replace all the cedar trees we’re taking out, a Monterrey oak. It’s scheduled to be delivered and installed a couple of days after the other trees are removed. We shopped around and found a great-looking, semi-large tree from a place that specializes in trees. Selling and installing trees is all they do, so I have high hopes that they know what they’re doing. Their trees also come with a “one year guarantee.” If the tree dies within one year, they will replace it for free! Perfect. How can we go wrong?

But then, after we got home, I took a closer look at the sales receipt, and noticed a whole list of exceptions to the guarantee. Exceptions that were, of course, not mentioned by the salesman. The guarantee doesn’t cover any of the following:

- Failure to water adequately
- Insect infestation
- Damage caused by any animal
- Damage caused by any weather event, including but not limited to lightning, high winds, hail, or flooding.
- Any type of accident

So what exactly is being guaranteed here? I can’t really think of much else that would cause a tree to die. Are they guaranteeing that the tree won’t commit suicide? Is a meteorite considered an accident or a weather event? Gunshot wounds? What about Armageddon, the Second Coming, or the Rapture? They don’t mention poisoning, so I guess they’ll replace the tree if I accidentally dump a gallon of Round-Up on it. No wait, that would be an accident. OK, if I intentionally dump a gallon of Round-Up on it, then they’ll replace the tree?

I’m not sure that anything is covered, but I’m definitely calling them if that tree starts looking depressed.


Blogger Schmoopie said...

Congrats on the new tree! When we were showing our home in CO for sale, we were glad it was winter because we had a huge cottonwod that was almost completely dead in our backyard. So it looked normal but we did have to list it during closing. The guy who bought the house asked about it at closing and we just kind of smiled and nodded a lot. We dodged a bullet with that tree! I can only imagine how much it will set you back to have all those trees removed. Good luck!

12:36 AM  
Blogger Em said...

Wow...sounds like a lot of work going on in your yard. Frankly, if the neighbor isn't covering his windows on the inside, I might be grateful for grass tall enough to cover them from the outside. Some things we just don't see through the windows at night!

7:56 PM  
Blogger Whippersnapper said...

You'll know your tree is depressed if it starts drinking a lot and gets really sappy.


11:22 PM  
Blogger Jocelyn said...

I'm laughing at the wording of a tree being "installed." I hope they don't forget to hook up the pipes. Hee.

And that dead are pissing off the Lorax by removing the very last Truffula Tree, you know.

2:29 PM  
Blogger Jazz said...

Point 1: Water it
Point 2: Don't prune it for a year.
Point 3: Apparently you're supposed to read the fine print.. or so I've been told.

12:01 PM  
Blogger Kara said...

We shopped around and found a great-looking, semi-large tree from a place that specializes in trees.

Only in Texas. This whole state is a tree store.

12:34 PM  
Blogger Jill said...

schmoopie, Hey, you told him about it. Your obligation has been satisfied. The in-laws have a cottonwood tree in their yard and they hate it. Covers the place in fluffy white stuff every year.

em, Totally agree. I've never understand the need to display oneself to the neighbors. Maybe he was traumatized in a mini-blind accident as a child.

whippersnapper, I'm planning on keeping the tequila away from the tree for at least the first couple of years. Maybe I'll grind up a prozac or two and sprinkle it around the trunk too...

jocelyn, Hey, planting a tree is a highly technical operation when you live someplace with 6 inches of dirt on top of the bedrock. We paid an extra $200 for the air hammer.

jazz, You're back! Advice has been duly noted.

kara, Sad, isn't it? We've paid good money for something that should just be there. Sorta like buying dirt or rocks. Or air.

12:59 PM  
Blogger Evil Spock said...

If it starts going south, just put some Xmas decorations on it a la Charlie Brown, and it'll magically perk back up.

11:45 AM  
Blogger Cheesy said...

LOL I;m with Jos~~ I giggled about the install!
gadz 6 ins of dirt on rock,,, geez I am glad I live in Oregon... I dont have to do squat to the trees lol
Make sure you get pics girlie!
Before and after...

9:44 PM  

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