March 13th, 2007
Bring in the Professionals

Zanthan Gardens mulch pile
2007-03-14. Pile of wood chips. I see an aching back in my future.
Zanthan Gardens mulch pile
2007-04-23. Finished! Now for the pile of wood.

Not very much ever seems to get done around here. I do almost everything myself and I’m not a very focused worker. However, there are times when I call in the pros, one of those being when I need to have trees trimmed.

I have ten trees over 30 feet tall in my yard. Most of them are 50 year old cedar elms which like to drop limbs on my roof or crush fences. I also have a difficult pecan tree which grows into the electric wires. The city came out about six years ago and hacked it back but in such a way as to make the problem worse–cutting it to encourage thin waterspouts to grow into the wires.

So I called Tree Masters because I was pleased with work they did for me before. Miraculously, the hour and a half that they were here this morning was the sunny period in this couple of days of torrential rain we’ve received. They dealt with the pecan tree in the electric wires and one large limb from a cedar elm with ease. I was making the bed when I saw the limb come down. They roped it first and it seemed to float down to the guys below who maneuvered it away from my flower beds without dropping it.

In the short term, Tree Masters is not as cheap as hiring two guys with a chainsaw off the corner but in the long term it is a much better deal. They are insured. They don’t free climb or balance on long ladders. Their people are experienced, efficient, and neat.

I wanted to keep the mulch but the arborist who’d come out to spec the job last week said that if they already had chips from a previous job that they’d have to dump them first because they wouldn’t want to infect my trees with oak wilt from another job. (One thing I like about professionals is the attitude that the customer is not always right; sometimes the customer needs to be educated so that she understands the ramifications of her choices.) As it turned out, the previous job was pecan, so I got to keep my wood chips plus what they had in the truck.

They warned me that there were some huge tree stumps in the back of the truck, but…greedy, greedy me! I just can’t turn down free mulch. I now have a pile of wood chips the size of a Hummer sitting in my driveway. What with the rain and all, I’m as happy as I can be.

Maybe I should have a mulch moving party. Everybody bring a wheelbarrow.

Zanthan Gardens mulch pile
2007-03-14. The sight that greeted us as we walked out the door this morning. AJM dubbed it “Mulch Mountain”. Gee. Those stumps do look big.

by M Sinclair Stevens

8 Responses to post “Bring in the Professionals”

  1. From M2 (Austin):

    In the land of drizzle and moss, mulch plays a huge role, for some reason. There are huge areas of it … more than I’d ever seen in Austin, where we tend to have either grass or rock. Mulch is good, Austin should embrace. Lead the way!

  2. From r sorrell (Austin):

    I would’ve never thought about the spread of oak wilt. Hmm. Congrats on the free mulch!

    Want some? — mss

  3. From Angelina (Oregon):

    We went for professionals when we had to thin out our giant douglas fir tree. We didn’t regret it. I just wish I’d thought of asking for the mulch.

    I enjoyed you DIY post today. I overdo the DIY myself and it’s such a joy to watch four men with chainsaws, who know what they’re doing, make short work of a big job. — mss

  4. From Carol (Indiana):

    It’s a long way for me to bring my wheelbarrow, but I wish you good weather and a strong back to move all that mulch!

    I went out at 8:30 this morning thinking I’d work for a couple of hours, take a shower, and run some errands. By the time I came back inside it was 4:15! I had been outside the whole time. I didn’t even notice I skipped breakfast and lunch. Today (3/14) was perfect gardening weather. The ground was damp from the rains. It was dark and cloudy with occasional misty rain–not even a drizzle. And the temperatures were neither too hot or too cold for hard work–between 55 and 65. Oh! And yes my back is aching! — mss

  5. From Carol (Indiana):

    Outside from 8:30 – 4:15 with no breakfast or lunch? You were “in the zone” in your garden. Isn’t that a great way to spend a day!

    It was. It was a perfect day. — mss

  6. From Stuart:

    Great idea about the ‘mulch-moving party’ M. I actually suggested the same thing to Nada from Grandiflora yesterday.

  7. From Nada:

    You left a comment for me (on my blog)….about mulching etc. Thanks for stopping by but I think it was Stuart who had the ‘mulch-moving party’ idea. You are right to say that the marshalling and organising take as much time as the moving.

    You are lucky that you don’t have a steep slope.

  8. From Sandra Trostel:

    Love your website!

    I have purchased roses at the Emporium, but there’s a rose treasure right there in Austin. Roses are “better” and the owner has a wealth of knowledge.

    It’s called It’s A Jungle…. near Kramer & Braker in North Austin.

    It’s a treat to go to this nursery, in fact, workers go there to eat their lunch in the gazebo surrounded by the flowers. Orchids, too!

    I’ve come across their website but when I tried to find them in real life, I couldn’t. I drove all up and down Braker looking for them too. Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll give it another try though. — mss