Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sins of the Father

This tree and bushes are blocking the light sensors; dangerous for residents at night dealing with our current issues of meth addicts
You're a new homeowner dealing with a broken air conditioner, leaky pipes, dripping ceilings, and that's just the beginning.  To top it off, you couldn't afford a new place because you're a first time home buyer. But you bought your place because it had charm and potential....and it was in your price range.  As home ownership begins to sink in, you begin to believe that you are trapped in a bad marriage with no escape.  You keep telling yourself that things will get better and they do, but it takes time for it all to happen.  Then you start to wonder why someone would have rain gutters directing water right into planters alongside a stucco home and why no one ever reported that the water from that rain caused dry rot damage and flooding inside the home.  You begin to see things that the home inspectors missed and you start to be become wiser at spotting imperfections.  Even the little pops and drips that happen between the walls make you think....is there a leak? Are the electrical wires going to almost cause a fire again? Where's that smoke coming from? After all of it's fixed, you wander outside.....
Notice the crack in the planters from root damage

With lots of money spent, we have now "stabilized" our "charming" home here. This blog isn't about my place however; it's about the planters outside of it and what the beginning gardeners did with them.  It's about undoing the damage that was done after all these years.  It's about the decisions we make today in our own gardens that will affect others when we are gone from our current places. After 4 years here, we are finally cutting down two trees in the planters that should never have been placed there.  It's a shame really because they are very healthy plants. And green in the desert is like a big diamond ring for some people.  Former residents did not want to have these cut down and argued that it would devalue their property.  I felt it already devalued the property because they were damaging the planters and jeopardizing the lives of residents that walk into their homes at night because the sensor lights were blocked. Plus the plants were unhealthy and looking "ratty".The issue is,however, that the plants are pulling the planters down and affecting the building's foundation.  With a chainsaw and 2 people, we are going to save the planters and the building by taking a proactive role.  The HOA board gave us the approval and we began phase one.  Phase 2 is the removal of stumps. And phase 3 is the creation of the citrus gardens using dwarf varieties. It will also be a functional landscape in smell, taste, and uniformity.  Citrus lovers, don't hate me, but citrus bushes all look the same:)
The tree is too close to the building and foundation which will cause stucco/foundation damage.  NEVER put a tree this close to building.

We will undo the damage done by people who thought it would be great to plant large trees inside a connected planter.  Today new homes are not permitted to have planters built into them.  Again, our home was built around 1981 so anything built around this time may still have planters attached to the building.  If you buy a home here, be aware of the problems caused by rain damage before purchasing a place.  Being the guy I am, I found out who the responsible party was and discovered it was the son of a former owner who loved to garden, but didn't know much about the appropriate placement of plants. We are all guilty of this:) And his is a sad story. He moved to Alaska where he died a young man. The moral of the story....we, as gardeners, need to be responsible as best we can when placing our plants in our yards and around homes. Or we'll be cursed after we have "moved on" to wherever we decide or are forced to go:)

This ficus is leaning and could eventually pull the foundation and planter during a microburst.  The dirt in the planter is also too high which led to termite damage on the patio above and possible water damage inside the unit.  Remember that the soil level should be BELOW the foundation.  Here in Tucson the foundations of homes are around 4 to 7 inches. Also watch for potential cords and wires when digging.
Because this project is HUGE.  You will see a development over the next week and I'll write about things to consider when taking on a massive project like this. Be aware, sore muscles are a given. Where do you put all the debris when you're done?  What are my options?  What are the steps and costs of something like this?  Don't worry, I won't leave any of the details out on a renovation project like this. Stay tuned for more on the Citrus Garden project. Of course, there is also the Whiskey Barrel project and yet one other project that the HOA has taken on....I have a lot of documentation going on right now, but I hope it proves interesting.  Until next time, happy adventures!
Palms are beautiful but unfortuneatly, they can cause a lot of damage if not properly placed.  This palm has cracked the planter and it will have to be removed. FYI palms do not transplant well during winter and should be only put into the ground during summer when it's hot.  However this may not work either because palms already in the ground have a 50/50 chance when transplanted. 

1 comment:

  1. aloha,

    yes its always a problem when things are planted with no thoughts to how large they will be eventually. it would be a good thing if things could be moved at a stage that is doable


Thanks for stopping by!