In about 6 hours, the Yucca went from this:
|Yucca, photographed looking down onto the back slope in November 2014|
|The same area, photographed December 5, 2014|
No one was happy about how the landscape service left the Yucca. Instead of 2 feet tall, it was between 4 and 5 feet tall in places.
|The huge, irregular stumps left behind|
In addition to being ugly, the stumps were too tall to cover with soil to speed decay and prevent the plant from growing back. Yet, they were also too low to provide privacy between the 2 properties. A representative from the landscape service quoted another choke-worthy fee to cut the stumps flush with the surface of the soil. We agreed to the plan but recently got another quote from a different tree service representative, who claimed his team could get a stump grinder down the slope to eliminate the risk of regrowth, something the original service claimed was impossible. We accepted his proposal.
The new team arrived on Tuesday, just as I was leaving for the day. My husband told me that getting the stump grinder down the relatively steep slope proved more difficult than anticipated by the new service. Fortunately, the neighbor on the other side of us agreed to allow us to move it through the back of her property.
With that obstacle removed, the team got to work. I came home that evening to find the work half-done, with the crew scheduled to return early the next morning - in exchange for a still larger fee.
|The scene at the start of the second day of work|
|The lattice and pots beyond the stumps sit on the neighbor's property|
|The tree service increased their price, in part, due to our request to also grind out the small stumps higher on the slope, off-shoots of the original Yucca (circled area)|
After another 9 hours of work on that second day, all that was visible was sawdust and mud:
|View of area as of January 8, 2015|
|The sawdust left behind after grinding the stumps is fluffy and very moist, creating a spongy surface, which may take a while to dry out|
Now what remains is to determine what we should plant to create a new screen between the 2 properties. I've proposed planting 3 Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Silver Sheen' but the neighbor has yet to respond. Although we believe the Yucca, or most of it anyway, was inside our property line, I want to ensure that the neighbors are comfortable with the choice. They've told us the Yucca was already tree-height 34 years ago when they moved in and I know the wife was upset by its removal. The privacy issue is also greater for them - we're impacted only when we're on the back slope but they face the newly bare area every time they go into their backyard. The Pittosporum, a handsome if unexciting plant, has the advantage of being fast-growing, reaching a height of 6 feet in as little as a year. In a group of 3, it should provide an effective screen, while allowing light and air to move easily through it. It's also moderately drought tolerant.
While I do like the increased light and improved views of the harbor from the back slope, I'm nonetheless sad to see the Yucca reduced to a soggy mass of dust. And I know that the hummingbirds and I will miss the flowers.
But I can always visit the handsome, well-maintained Yucca elephantipes at the local botanic garden, just 5 miles away.
All material © 2012-2015 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party