by Sara S
Our new house was built in 1991, and the trees and bushes weren’t cared for much. Things grow like crazy here in the Northwest, so they’re super overgrown and some need to be removed. So we’re blowing a ton of money this month on expensive tree removal.
Saving a Bit on Shrubs That Think They’re Trees
We have two arborvitae on the side of the house, just a few feet from the foundation. Normally people use them as shrubs, and keep them around 8 feet tall. Well these two beasts are—no joke—35 feet tall. They honestly crack me up.
We got bids to cut them down thinking our HOA would require us to use a professional, and the cheapest was $200. But since they’re technically shrubs (the biggest shrubs in all the land!), the HOA said we can “trim” them ourselves.
We’re happy we can save on the labor, but we don’t have adequate tools ourselves. We don’t own a chainsaw, but we do own a small hand saw that is pretty much used for cutting down our Christmas tree. I somehow, someway talked my husband into using this handsaw to start cutting down the arborvitae. He kept muttering under his breath, but we persevered.
Check out our progress:
My husband grew up in a logging community—his dad worked at the mill—so he taught me the safe way to cut down trees. We cut down as many of the smaller branches and sections that we could. Our arms may never be the same. It was hard work, but we fell the first one and all the small-ish ones on the second. But the rest are beefy and we really need a chain saw.
He is campaigning hard for buying a chain saw. We can use it on the arborvitae and to cut up fallen trees, and then to help us maintain the rest of the trees in the yard. But I just want to rent one from Home Depot or Lowe’s every now and then and call it good. It costs $32 to rent for four hours, and then we wouldn’t have to store it. But he likes one he saw for $250 (plus a $50 battery). Considering we are saving $200 by not using a professional, I might be persuaded.
More Expensive Tree Troubles
Speaking of trees, remember that tree I mentioned that dropped a big branch on our neighbor’s roof deck? Turns out it’s a Black Cottonwood that grows fast and can be very brittle. It scared the bejeezus out of our neighbors that day. And since it’s on a slope above our house, it scares me too. It’s too close to the house, especially where our kids sleep.
We had to spend $50 just to apply to our HOA to have it removed, and they’re still reviewing it. (Oh HOAs…) They try to keep native trees around, but we really hope they’ll take our safety into account.
Our bids for this tree HURT. Such expensive tree removal. One was for $2,400 plus $300 for grinding. A friend’s tree service will do it for $1,000. We’ll still need to grind the stump and figure out how to get rid of it ourselves, but the math is a no-brainer.
So this is how we’re blowing money on trees lately. If only money truly grew on them! This is the part of home ownership that is neither glamorous nor inexpensive.