We had quite a little monsoon here last night. Power poles knocked over, the roof of the large and fancy city library damaged & leaking, some 6500 people out of power. Interestingly, no rain fell at the Funny Farm.
But boyoboy, as I was listening to the wind whipping around and the thunder rumbling, I thought damn! what a mess i’m gunna have to clean out of that pool! So, after the stürm und drang subsided, I went out to survey the ruins. It was dead still and dark as the inside of a closet with the power out. I couldn’t see the pool very well, which didn’t matter because there was nothing I could do about it at that hour. But the air, backlit by the streetlights, was hazy with suspended dust. So much dirt was hanging in the air that it looked like fog.
Holy sh!t. Dart back indoors, close the doors, change the air filter. Drop an antihistamine.
So I figured this morning the pool would be choked with mounds of palm tree debris and the bottom would be coated with a layer of brown dust.
But no! Weirdly, there were three small, individual dried-up leaves from the dead palm fronds that still cling to the tree. And…that was it!
What happened to the air dirt, I do not know, but apparently it wasn’t enough to dust the world with flying topsoil. I didn’t even have to use the hose bonnet to clean up the litter. The leaf things were in the shallow end, so all I had to do was step in there and lift them out.
No algae clung to the walls, either. I did sweep the walls down (as I’ve been doing every day), but that was it.
This spring I decided not to get the palm trees trimmed. The main reason for this was that last spring Gerardo’s guys hacked them back so far they dumped all the birds’ nests on the ground and killed a bunch of nestlings. The sound of the mother birds crying after their babies was just too heartbreaking. This spring, I told Gerardo we would wait until after the nesting season. Because we both forget easily, that meant we never got around to it.
The other reason for leaving them alone this spring is my recent discovery that hacking off the green leaves when the dead leaves are removed damages the tree. So, it develops, does climbing the trunk with lumberman’s cleats — and Gerardo’s cousin does this all the time. Probably the trees will sicken and die in time, because they’re now punctured all over from those things. So one of these days I’ll have a bill of several thousand bucks to remove the trees–thank you very much, gentlemen!
In the meantime, though, they thrive.
Not trimming off the “petticoat” of dead leaves, I figured, would mean a gawdawful mess and a legion of roaches.
But no. What we have is a legion of grackles and whitewings, all of whom are delighted to consume cockroaches, paloverde beetles, palm tree worm thingies, and every other bug they can get their beaks on. I’ve actually seen fewer insects this spring and summer than ever before.
And, bizarrely, very little of that palm tree stuff has fallen into the pool. Certainly not so much as to be uncontrollable.
Another surprise benefit is that with the extra bulk around the top, the palms actually shade the pool, making a mid-day swim a lot more pleasant.
I’m thinking the thing to do may be to leave them alone for a couple of years in a row, and then use the cost savings to hire a professional service with a crane to lift the pruner up there. And tell them under no circumstances are they to cut off green fronds.
They won’t like that — no macho kinda guy likes to hear a woman tell him what to do. Maybe I should try to put up my son or one of the neighbors to dispense these instructions.
In any event, this is the plan. It’s probably not real good to leave the dry leaves up there, because they are flammable. But if lightning hits one of those trees, it likely will set the thing afire anyway. And lightning is the only real risk of fire in something that’s 30 or 40 feet up off the ground.