Monday, September 05, 2011

Trimming the palm

This weekend we decided to do some things around the house we’ve been avoiding, using the summer heat as an excuse. One of the big things was trimming the trees out front – mainly the big palm in the center. It should be done in the spring, but a lot of birds have taken to building nests in it, and if I trim the lower leaves I disturb them too much. Last time I trimmed I ended up dropping two mockingbird nests that had eggs, and I don’t think they came back. Mostly it’s the sparrows and finches, but sometimes I do see the mocking birds up there.


This is dangerous to trim – not because it’s so high but because of the palm fronds. The tree has probably been in for forty years, since the house was built, and the lowest fronds grow at about ten feet above the ground. New fronds come from the center top, forcing the lower ones to rotate from vertical down to horizontal. The fronds are about four meters long, and the ends droop down to touch the ground, getting in the way of cars in the driveway. I usually trim the lowest row every year, but skipped last year so there was a lot to take off. No before photos, but you can see the reach of the tree.

Down at the base of each frond the individual leaves change, ending up as eight inch long hard spikes. I use an electric saw to trim each, and usually the end hits the ground and the frond pivots down toward me. Yesterday I took a spike to the forehead, not very pleasant. You can see the bird nests scattered at the base of each frond.


But it’s all down now, this morning was spend cutting them up and bundling the end pieces, into things the trash men are willing to take.

10 comments:

Steve Skinner said...

I always wanted to have a palm tree or two but after your tale, not so much.

Froggy said...

that would be difficult to explain at work, they would be wondering who stabbed you in the head! hope it's all better now.

Diane Laney Fitzpatrick said...

Oh my god, those spikes are the WORST! We have some ribbollini palms in our yard (and no, I don't know if that's how they're spelled. I feel no obligation to spell their name right when they stab me and inject poison into my veins every time I do yard work). You can get a little stab - doesn't even hurt that much - and then about 15 minutes later, it's so painful and throbbing. I had a mark and a sore spot on my hand once for three weeks after a stab. Hate those things....

hero bail bonds las vegas said...

Palm trees bug the crap out of me. If their roots aren't collapsing your wall (or a neighbor's is), then you are paying someone like a 100 bucks to trim them. Then they get so tall sometimes you can't enjoy 'em unless you're a 100 yards from your own house.

Don said...

Hope you have some safety glasses. When we lived in Florida my wife got a spike from the palm tree in her hand and had to go to the emergency room to have it removed. It was barbed like a fishing hook.

SOL's view said...

Ouch! Makes me glad I have a different type of palm in my garden. Don't know what they are - they existed when we moved in. :)

The Blonde Duck said...

I want a palm tree!

Virginia Gal said...

Yes this weather has been oppressive! How is your dog handling this heat?

Stephen Hayes said...

I just found your blog and I find it really interesting. Your palm is quite beautiful, and like most beautiful things obviously requires a lot of work. I look forward to reading more.

Jammie J. said...

Good job, your palm looks great now! Your head, probably not so much.

I have a baby sago and baby pindo, and even at the baby stage those fronds require careful handling lest I jab myself. I can't even imagine cutting off swords like you did!