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UPCOMING EVENTS
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by Monica Brandies

 

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Tree Trimming with Less Trauma

There really ought to be a support group for people, especially gardening people, who are getting their trees trimmed. It is a difficult operation at best, hard and dangerous work for the men who are doing it, fairly costly for the person who is paying, and fraught with great tension for the person responsible for the garden.


The large oak takes the most pruning, but our neighbors are relieved that it is back off of their roof.

So I put it off for probably six years and dreaded the very thought. The company I had before no longer does work in this area, though the man who was in charge, Rob Irvin, now has his own business. To tell the truth, I was not altogether happy with the last job, mostly because Rob Irvin was not around much after our first talk. I was left with a crew who were skilled enough, but no one spoke English. And somehow, every inch of my yard was raked raw by the dropping and dragging branches.

Finally I call Rob Irvin, certified arborist and now owner of Tree Investment Corporation (6005 Crickethollow Drive, Riverview, Fl 33569, 245-4493, psutreedoc@aol.com). That first interview, which is free, is also much like going to confession. This man already knew of my previous tree planting and pruning mistakes. We walked around the yard and made a page long list of 14 things that needed done. Wonder of wonder, he promised to be on the site through most of the work. I was greatly relieved.

But still, I didn't plant any new plants, not even bean seeds. Once the commitment was made, I couldn't wait for them to get here, but they had just finished up the last of their storm damage work when I called and they are always booked at least six weeks in advance.

So the tension built until I was very glad when the day arrived. I had most of the clearing done, but that morning I pulled the last few pots under the carport and was digging out some alyssum and lobelia clumps from the path where I knew there was no way not to crush them. When I had to leave to take Teresa to work, Rob Irvin dug out the rest of them for me himself.

This time I put the frost-protection sheets on the most treasured plants: my giant red-leaved crinum lily, the citrus seedling that is sprouting our Ponkan shoots from Jimmy Lee's grafts, and my Vireya rhododendrons. Not a one was hurt. In fact, very little of my yard was drug this time. I am in awe at their care.

Because this is a young company, they do not yet have a chipper. I was sorry to not get the woodchips, but I was going to have to have them dumped in son Mike's yard anyway because all of my former dumping places are now planted. As it turned out, it was more peaceful not having the chipper running all the days.


Just clearing the roof is a big job at our house. Now the mango will get more light.

Because of the recent storms, the men were working as much for safety as for tree health. They cleared both our roof and our neighbor's--our big oak now extends that far.

They removed my major mistakes: four of the Queen Palms that I had planted and one that a bird had planted. There are a hundred more coming up in my garden but I will never again plant or let grow any palm that gets taller than I can reach. My husband David insisted we save just one out by the street. It looks pretty naked at the moment, but it will recover. There will be room to plant as least two more citrus trees in the space vacated.

They cutback several of the existing citrus trees to make them shorter. We went out when they finished and picked eight bags of fruit from the branches. I will have to work to keep them down to within reach of a pole picker from now on.

The crew worked all day and Monday. Tuesday it was too windy for them to work in the big tree and spitting rain, so they didn't come. Wednesday the wind had stopped but the rain was constant, but they still worked until noon. Thursday they finished by noon.

They hauled away 71/2 of their wagonloads of wood and litter for a total of about 9 tons. That is a powerful lot of mistakes.

But they left me with a yard that already looks much better, with much more sunshine, and room to plant quite a few new things. They also left me with great admiration for the hard work, great skill, and kind care they took with all the plants that were in they way. They charged much less than they were worth and I've easily saved enough from not having to pay for lawn mowing to be able to afford them.

It was still a traumatic experience, and I feel for everyone I see getting work done, but it sure looks and feels good when they finish.

My back corner where the sunflower blooms will have much more light and room for vegetables now.

Now's the time to...

  • Be aware and prepared for the fact that any workmen around your home are a threat to your plants. I put my containers on the porch or under the carport before the tree trimmers came. I was digging out some alyssum and lobelia clumps from the path where I knew there was no way not to crush them. When I had to leave to take Teresa to work, Rob Irvin dug out the rest of them for me himself.
  • This time I explained before hand that I was putting the frost-protection sheets on the most treasured plants: my giant red-leaved crinum lily, the citrus seedling that is sprouting our Ponkan shoots from Jimmy Lee's grafts, and my Vireya rhododendrons. They didn't hurt a one. In fact, very little of my yard was drug this time. I am in awe at their care.
 

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