The Tree Trimming Post


The beach town where I have an almost -100-year-old house has Draconian tree-removal laws. In other words, you can’t. You can trim your tree up to 25%, but good luck trying to remove it. I found this out the hard way when I applied for a tree removal permit ($181.00) and was denied.

A limb had snapped off the tree back in December, and I was spooked. I could’ve been under that six-story-high tree and then it would’ve been bye-bye for me. I followed all the rules, got an independent arborist report ($325.00 — she rated my tree an 11 hazard out of a possible 12), and bought the four replacement redwood trees ($216.00).

My application was denied, the city arborist saying that the indie arborist report did not show why the tree should come down. Excuse me?  11 out of 12, remember?

I stewed and complained and then had the retired city arborist swing by for a free opinion. He explained that the whole town used be a solid forest back in the 1800s and that the peninsula is much colder now that so many trees have been cut down. 

Be that as it may, I still wanted the tree down.

“You can trim it,” everyone said.

The bids were all over the place, $1700 or $2400 (removal would have been $4500 or $12,000). I went with a new tree trimer. The last crew had let things freefall, and I had too much to lose underneath the tree.

The new guys came last week while the dogs and I were safely at the other house. Yesterday I came down to inspect the situation before I wrote the check.  I found a broken arm on one Adirondack chair, one broken pot, pinecones, moss and pieces of tree branches everywhere. As I picked the moss and branches off my 50 or so potted plants, I realized that it could have been much worse.

I pulled pinecones out of everything.  Monterey pines are messy, even though it was now half the size that it used to be, still as tall, just not as wide or full. There had been much dead wood to trim.

After two hours of using my grabber pole to pick up everything, my shoulders hurt. I felt dizzy and knew it was time to go thrifting and buy some wood glue for the chair arm of the scavenged chair. I ended up skipping the hardware store and heading home in time for the 5 o’clock news. Evenings are my time to read, do Facebook, watch TV, and check my cell phone. My lunch date had left a voicemail. I forgot to tell him that I came down here to escape the heat in the Bay Area. It’s predicted to be 108 degrees on Sunday (that will kill the final summer concert at the lake) and 109 degrees on Monday (that might kill the Labor Day party at Randy’s house).

When it’s hot inland, it’s foggy here. The heat pulls in the fog. I walked Pepper to the beach and then back home through the foggy sand dunes this morning but had to turn around when we encountered eight deer. We had to retrace our steps to the beach.

P.S. My neighbors appealed their tree removal permit denial to both the beautification committee and the town council. Both voted 4-2 to uphold the denial. Now the neighbors are going to sue the city. Im waiting to see what happens.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s