Saturday, December 7, 2013

25 Year Old Birds of Paradise

Our backyard has two massive 25+ year old Bird of Paradise palm trees in it, that are a good 30 feet tall.  There used to be three of these, but the previous (and original) homeowners cut down the one that arched out towards the pool.  Having recently struggled to trim just the lowest - and deadest - branches of this fan palm, I can see why.

In the photo to the right, the green tree to the right of the B.o.P. palms is a fully grown Mexican Cream Guava tree - the prolific one that produced dozens of bushels of fruit this Fall.  It is 20 feet high at its peak.

To trim the B.o.P. palm's dead branches, I got out my 10 foot ladder, climbed to the 2nd to the last top step, and then extended my 12 foot long Fiskars tree pruner, at my maximum arm extension, and I was barely able to "nibble off" the lowest and deadest fronds.   The one completely brown & shriveled frond brittlely fell off without an problems, but the next two 1/2 dead fronds were a significant challenge.

WHen I told Dr Desert Flower that I wanted to get "spiked boots for tree climbing", my very intelligent wife said to me "let's consider this: how high are you going to climb?"
My reply: "high enough, that if I fell, I'd sustain a serious spinal or pelvic injury, the severity of which might be up to and including becoming a quadraplegic"
"Are you sure you don't want to hire someone, who's specialty is climbing up palms and trimming them?"
"Yes, spending $300 for a professional tree trimmer is worth not having to spend the rest of my life in a wheel chair or worse."

The B.o.P. palms are very cool to look at when doing yoga on the pool deck beneath them, in Bridge pose, supine pigeon, or during crunches...  and the birds - as well as spiders - seem to love them.  I hope I can keep them alive another 25 years.

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