Sunday, February 21, 2010

The bougainvillea

We have a beautiful purple bougainvillea tree in the back yard, and we love having the splash of color. In fact, it’s bright enough that when I am walking down the street towards home, I can see the tree through the house if I have the curtains open on both ends of the kitchen. The problem with the bougainvillea is that it grows very rapidly, and would soon take over our whole yard if we let it. And so this afternoon, as we do every month or two, we dragged out the ladder and various sharp cutting instruments to give it a trim.

The problem with bougainvillea pruning day is that we always end up with various small wounds, because this tree grows some wicked thorns:

I’m very grateful to my mother-in-law, who sent me a few pairs of gardening gloves last year. But even those aren’t enough to completely protect against puncture wounds.

We have some other ongoing tree trimming projects at our house. Trees here grow very tall very quickly because of all the rain and the mild climate. However, because it’s so wet, they don’t need to grow their roots very deep. This means that every time there is a big storm, Brian just holds his breath and waits to hear about another tree that fell down. His employees at the Industrial department are kept very busy with cutting down trees, because every time we have a spectacular tree catastrophe during a storm, people begin to look at the trees in their own yards, and the tree trimming orders come pouring in!

Our house came with a few very large trees. And we know for sure that some of them need to come down pretty soon before they decide to come down on their own. But some of our trees are in a very tricky spot, where it’s hard to fall them without squishing some important structure like a house or rain water tank or fence. So we’re going at it piecemeal. Every time we trim the bougainvillea, Brian decides to whack another limb or two off of one of the other trees in our backyard that we want to remove. The idea is that hopefully we can get them down before they decide to fall on us.

We could hire Brian’s crew to cut them down, but that option is fairly expensive. We could save money by hiring a national from the local community to cut it down. There are plenty of guys who would happily climb up the tallest of trees and bring it down with nothing but a hatchet, but if something goes wrong and the tree falls on your house, then you’re out of luck. At least if Brian’s crew squishes your house, then they are responsible to pay for the damages!

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