Friday, February 1, 2013


A big tree that had been standing in the back yard for probably 80 years is now gone. It and several others, all gone without a trace. Each one was a problem in my eyes, but the big Malaluka, also known as a punk tree or paper tree because its bark can be peeled away like paper, was a special case. It stood some 60 feet tall just at the rear corner of the house.

To start, the Malaluka (Melaleuca quinquenervia) is a Florida pest tree, one of the few trees that can be cut down here without a permit. Some real estate developer imported these from Australia 100 years ago in a scheme to drain the everglades. Didn't work. Second, it dropped berries and crap on our awnings and in the koi ponds, and it caused the awnings to develop a mold. Third, it was supposedly dying (according to an arborist that came out last year), and its brittle truck would threaten our house during some future hurricane.

After the stump grinder

So why do I feel guilty about cutting it down? It seems that I keep trying to convince myself that it is OK.

After the tree guys finished with it I stood staring at the stump for quite a while. Then the awesome stump-grinding machine came in and pulverized what remained. I really want one of those things.

The two other trees we cut were cherry laurels (Prunus laurocerasus), also pest trees, and also big and old, though I have no real feeling for them, probably because they send out little runner weeds that I have to pull, thousands of them, summer and winter, in all parts of the yard. The cherry laurels were in the way of our new fence. Too bad for them...

Tomorrow I go to Home Depot to shop for fencing. Let the project begin.

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