Sunday, March 6, 2016

365 True Things: 343/Tree

That's it, looming behind the former house
We have an enormous Monterey pine tree in our back yard—that is, in the back corner of our small property. It is without doubt the largest Monterey pine in our small city of Del Rey Oaks, well nurtured thanks to its location. It was probably planted when the subdivision went in, in 1953. It's a native tree; it provides habitat and oxygen: all good things.

The other week we received a letter from the owners of the house next door. (They do not, and probably would never choose to, live in our humble community. Their daughter and grandchild do, however.) In it, they asked us to remove our beautiful big Monterey pine because, basically, it's annoying. They have to pick up after it. The roots are cracking the concrete slab in their yard. (Perhaps a concrete slab is not a wise thing to install near a pine tree. A deck, maybe, would be better?) It's a "danger," they say.

We did, several years ago, remove a few limbs of said pine on their request because . . . I'm not actually sure why. They were afraid those specific limbs would fall on their house? Never mind that we've lived here twenty-five years, and never has anything threatening fallen on anything. But we were affable enough—if it would make them happier.

It didn't, apparently.

Apparently, they hate trees.

That's it looming behind the new house,
courtesy Google Streetview

Or this tree, at any rate.

Perhaps they should not have purchased the house if they're worried about trees.

They also claimed that our dog shits in their back yard. Which is impossible: we have a securely fenced yard for a reason. (They even sent a picture of said poop. Definitely the poop of a smaller dog than Milo.) Though what that has to do with the tree, I don't know.

They also sent pictures of their cracked concrete, and of pine needles, and of "large branches" (I'd call them twigs), and of the huge looming tree (aaaaaahhhhhh!).

Today, David drafted a response to their concerns. First, he explained, we went to the city and ascertained that, no, we can't remove a tree unless it's sick and/or dangerous. Then we called an arborist in, and he affirmed: The tree is thriving! It's beautiful! Definitely not dangerous.

Moreover, he said that if the neighbors do anything to undermine the tree's health, they will be liable.

I do not like feuding with a neighbor (though it bothers me a little less that this "neighbor" is just a neighbor on paper). But seriously—if they press the issue, we're going to stick to our guns. Even if it means legal recourse.

That big beautiful tree is more important than the petty concerns of people who, maybe, need to get on their roofs a couple of times a year and sweep them clean of pine needles. Or spend a little money to put in a deck. Or who may just choose to sell the house a few years on, for whatever reason.

The big beautiful Monterey pine can't move. It is at home. And it's at home in our back yard. That makes me happy.


  1. Neighbors! I'm glad you're a tree champion.

  2. I recently found out that I lack "management skills" with adults. David seems to know how to manage it.