The Poinciana Saga

Last Wednesday was a very sad day because we had to cut down our beautiful Royal Poinciana tree. I didn’t write about it before, but this is how it was blooming all through June and July:

Royal Poinciana entirely covered in bright red-orange flowers

Close-up of intricate flowers and petal patterns.

After the flowers, the leaves started filling in with a beautiful emerald green color. But then, on August 5th, a branch fell down on our neighbor’s driveway, probably due to the weight of the new leaves because there wasn’t much wind that day.

A branch 1 foot in diameter perfectly blocking Joe

By the way, that’s our neighbor Joe and my wife Sonja, who is 6 months pregnant here. It cost us $120 for a tree maintenance guy to come and cut it up that day and haul it away, and I spent the afternoon cleaning up the neighbor’s yard.

Then we discovered why the branch was so weak. The entire heartwood of the tree was rotten, and that branch was only being held by the edge, painted black with pruning seal in the next photo. The rest of the tree was being held up by the outer layer of wood on 2/3 of the circumference.

Gaping wound 2 feet wide and 3 feet high where the trunk should be.

That’s when we knew the tree would have to be cut down. It is really a shame, because it now had a full crown of beautiful leaves, shaded the yard, and still seemed solid. I suppose that it grew stronger on the sides that were still holding. It didn’t even seem to move in any of the storms we had before we could get somebody to work on it. But we knew there would be more storms, and several branches were threatening the house, so it had to go.

It took us almost 2 months (and $1200!) to find someone with the time to do the work, arborists seem to be booked solid on this island. But he and his helper finally came last week, and took down the canopy on the first day and the trunk on the second day:

Beginning to cut down the outer branches.

Only the trunk and big branches left, and lots of small branches covering the yard.

Only the stump is left in a clean but sadly empty yard.

It was really sad to watch the beautiful tree come down, still green and strong. Sonja even cried a little and couldn’t watch. The yard seems empty now and the house is more visible, as are the neighbors. We hope it will start growing back from the good roots, and we will plant other trees in the yard, but we will miss you, beautiful poinciana tree.

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