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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Palm Trees

Growing up in west-central Iowa, palm trees were something you saw on TV.  They represented exotic beaches, desert islands and pirate adventures.  But now, living in the high plains of central South Africa, I've come to realise that palm trees don't necessarily represent such exciting things.  If you've ever been to Welkom you understand.

We bought a house 2 years ago and in our yard are two huge palm trees.  Guess what?  They're a pain!  They can house all kinds of vermin.  These don't bear coconuts, just these little coffee-bean looking things that litter the yard and sprout mini-palm trees everywhere.  They drop their fronds at the most inopportune times, so that you better have your head on a swivel if you're anywhere nearby.



But they still look pretty cool.

A couple months ago a work crew came to Welkom leaving little flyers at everyone's house that they are buying mature palm trees.  These trees are in great demand at new housing developments, golf courses, and especially in China.  Apparently, a large palm tree is a status symbol in China.  So many of these trees are packaged up and shipped east so that a wealthy Chinese family can have a home for vermin and get conked in the head when they walk too close.  Very posh, indeed.

Well, we were so excited about the possibility of getting paid for someone to take out our nuisance trees that we had one of the reps come by for an inspection.  They pay R3,000 per tree, or about $250.  We were looking forward to a nice $500 bonus (considering we probably would be willing to pay that much for someone to take these infernal things!).  But alas, 6.2 meters is the limit they can take, and our trees are 7.2 meters tall.

However, our church had 3 palm trees that fell within the specified range, so we were able to make a cool R9,000 and rid ourselves of some high maintenance garden foliage.  And that is a huge blessing too, because that increases our church bank account by about 30% (yes, our entire church bank account is less than $3,000)  I found the process interesting and thought maybe some other Mid-American hicks might too.  Enjoy!

First, they trim them up all nice and pretty
Then they dig a trench all the way around
Note the root system.  Nothing bigger than a pencil.
That piece you see still attached is just dirt for support
in case of strong wind.






A truck with a crane lifts it out.  They tie up the fronds and
drop it on a flatbed for transport.



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