Yesterday’s workout was a monster: Queen palm removal.
I didn’t spend any time on the bike or in the weight room yesterday, but I got one heck of a good workout in…
What you’re looking at in the picture to the right is the mature (it was approximately 30′ tall with its healthy fronds) Queen palm that I mentioned in yesterday’s blog. This unfortunate palm contracted a disease known as Fusarium Wilt. There is no cure for Fusarium Wilt–once a palm has it then it’s game over. I really loved this palm, and I was sad that there was nothing I could do for it.
The removal of this extremely well-established palm was a nightmare. I probably should have called a tree removal service, but I was determined to do it myself.
As you can imagine, digging out that huge root ball was a massive job in and of itself, but that was only the beginning…
After I got the palm (mostly) free of the earth I sawed it in half. I was able to drag the top half to the curb, but it was not easy! The lower half of the palm along with the root ball was impossibly heavy. I bought a tow chain rated for 2,000 pounds so that I could drag the lower half to the curb with my truck, but the chain snapped in half. So I went back to the hardware store and purchased a tow chain rated for 5,000 pounds, and that chain held. I don’t know how much the lower half of the palm weighed, but it was a lot: my truck’s tires broke loose a couple times, squealing and barking as the engine revved.
My neighbors must think I’m crazy for doing these kinds of things myself. At least at this point they are used to it.
At one point yesterday I was struggling physically and was probably starting to look a little defeated. Lisa said, “You can’t do this, you need to call someone.” Of course that made me even more determined to complete the job. I think Lisa knew full well that her words would have that exact effect.
Anyway, I finally got the entire palm to the street and against the curb. After that I had to dig out the rest of the roots with a shovel, and that took several more hours. I also had to repair some underground sprinkler pipe that was damaged during the excavation.
Then came the cleanup, which took about another hour. I still have to pressure wash the paver driveway, as the roots left marks that will require some real water force to remove. I pressure wash the driveway, backyard fence and sidewalks every spring anyway.
I’m going to completely redesign that entire bed this spring. I really want to put a replacement Queen palm as the specimen plant (focal point), but that would be risky since the fungus that killed the first one is thought to produce chlamydospores that survive in the soil for many years. Such a shame.
I am very nervous about the five other queen palms on our property–three of which are nearly as large and just as established as the one that just died. Not only would losing another of my beautiful and well-cared for Queen palms be extremely upsetting, I don’t want to ever have to endure another removal like yesterday’s.
Well, at least I got a great workout out of it!