Arboreal aggravation


I had all sorts of witticisms and puns planned to open this post, but I decided, nah, my current and expected aggravation with my Homeowners’ Association (HOA) suggests a more sober tone.

My home is just about perfect for me. Three bedrooms (meaning two to fill up and one to sleep in), a nice sized patio (for grilling and hosting BBQ’s) and a well-landscaped and well-tended community.

And yet, if there’s been one recurring boulder in my shoe for the 21 years I’ve lived here it’s the battles between the HOA and me regarding trees.

When it comes to the back of the house, the big oak tree has caused many a dilemma. I’ve documented them before, but I’ve kindly blown the dust off those posts for you. There’s this threatening situation and there’s also this annoying problem. And then there was the time with the olive tree out front.

What? You didn’t read about that one? Let’s see if I can condense it so I can get on with my main point today.

When I first bought the house, I didn’t notice the disaster that was growing on the north side of my driveway. After several years, this tree grew large enough and fruitful enough to drop these large black whatevers (I could never accurately determine whether they were olives or some weird elongated fruit).

They would splat on the driveway, leaving great slimy messes (I mean dozens of them…a HUGE mess). Or, if I were unfortunate, they would drop on my car and melt into the paint (thank goodness I had black cars back then).

Several months of “negotiation” with the HOA proved…er…fruitless. Only when I threatened to counter sue them if a person sued me for slipping on the mess did they finally replace the tree, with the caveat that I had to be out there every day for three weeks watering it.

Of course, it wasn’t that simple, as they gave me a dead tree. I still think they did it on purpose. Eventually they gave me a live tree and that singular problem was finally solved.

Flash ahead to Wilma and Irma and you have twice my home has been damaged by the big oak behind my house. And now, as I contemplate in no small amount of genuine anger my $3,400 roof repair bill, I have added condemnation of that tree.

Apparently, all those leaves that I didn’t have to sweep off “The Slab” were pooling up on my roof, causing two things – one, trapping moisture and seeds so that a baby tree was actually growing on my roof and two, creating enough consistent moisture to seep into the roof and begin damaging the wood below.

Of course, I can add a monthly expense to have someone come by and clean my roof constantly, but the real issue is the tree is just too close to the back of the house, especially on the eastern-facing side (almost all our breezes – and hurricanes – come off the Atlantic Ocean…to the east of me).

After Wilma, I asked for the tree to be removed. After the root issue, I asked for the tree to be removed. After Irma, I have asked – again – for the tree to be removed.

It’s a great tree. Woodpeckers, blue jays, squirrels and others all love it. And I’m a big fan of the environment, forestry, and nature.

But, I recycle constantly. I conserve water at all times. I’m mindful of animals and plants by avoiding poisonous sprays and protections outside the house.

I’m sorry, but I think I’ve earned one pass on this. That tree has got to go.

Not that I’m expecting anything but aggravation from my HOA on the matter.

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