September 19, 2013

I woke at 3 AM with a thought in my head – one I knew was going to cost me money in the short run but save me time, money, and trouble in the long run. The thought of those two drip line connectors and queen palm roots wrapped around the station 6 main line troubled me all night, so I was up at the computer to see how far queen palm roots typically extended to. Thank God for the Internet – it has the best and the worst of everything. In less than a minute I had my answer:

The Queen Palm’s root base is known as a noninvasive type so the tree is popular to plant around swimming pools and walkways. As the tree grows, the roots spread wider but only usually as wide as the fronds, which can spread 12 feet. The roots are from 1 to 4 feet deep. It is recommended that the tree be watered in a wider area as the tree grows to give the roots the moisture they need.

Noninvasive, huh? Tell that to my main lines and drip line connectors! I knew that I was going about this chewing-gum-and-bailing-wire replacement the wrong way, and while my decision was going to cost us I knew it was the right thing to do.

Mr. Hawkeye showed up at 8 AM sharp with the tools of his trade: shovel, spade, plastic hosing, credit card processor. I told him what I was thinking and he completely agreed with me. It was going to cost around $200 when all was said and done, but the plan, beautiful in its simplicity, was also the one that made the most sense: start from the nearest plant to the right of the lone remaining palm tree (just off to the right of the picture below) and excavate both the station 5 and 6 main lines all the way to the next nearest bush (the ornamental grass on the left). Then bring both mainlines forward two feet from the perimeter of the remaining palm and lay them side by side instead of on top of each other for easy access. Finally, reduce the total number of drip lines from what seems like a gazillion but are really only actually six or seven to three (one for each palm that will reside in the corner), employing adjustable drips to control how much water will be pushed into the deep-root feeder tubes.

An hour later the work was done. The dead queen palm’s stump was removed by a crew including a huge Mexican guy who was at least 6’2, 300 lbs who could wield a pick axe like it was a toothpick and two guys my size who didn’t appear to do much except marvel at the big dude’s abilities until it was time to clean up and move on. Here’s what the finished product looked like when they were done:

This weekend I’ll be clearing all the rocks away from where the two new Queens will be planted and removing the hundreds of root pieces left from that big Mexican dude’s hard work. I’ll be picking out two queens (one medium-sized, one smaller) to be planted to the left and towards the front-left of the existing palm, restoring that area to its once-tropical brilliance. To the right of the existing palm I’ll be planting a single dwarf date palm and some ornamental grass to bring the pool fountain area into symmetry with the rest of the back yard. Before and after pics will be coming.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 10:22 | Comments (0)
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