The saga of saguaros

Missing saguaro
The empty spot where the saguaro once stood.

The saga of the saguaro goes on.

Friday afternoon the doorbell rang. A man stood at the doorstep and said he was a building inspector with the City of Scottsdale.

“What?” I asked confused.

“I’m here to look at your saguaro,” he explained. “Is it the one out front?”

dying saguaro
The building inspector was referring to this one with budding arms that’s 20-feet tall and unfortunately dying.

It turns out you have to get a permit from the city to remove or transplant saguaros. I led him to the backyard and pointed out the one with bacteria necrosis that we needed to remove before it spreads in the yard.

He took photos and said he’d approve the permit. He noticed the one on the ground and asked if we were removing it. I told him we wanted to keep it for the skeleton and the same thing for the one in the front yard that was dying.

Saturday the door bell rang and it was the Cactus Doctor. Not the Cactus Biologist who diagnosed our cacti, but the removal team. The Cactus Doctor said the dying saguaro in the front yard was already dead but he explained what we needed to do to “skeletonize” it.

He explained that saguaro may look majestic and strong but they are in fact fragile when it comes to disease and water. He said they like to be left alone with no shade and no watering — preferably on a hill or elevated space.

My husband wasn’t thrilled with the cost to remove the saguaro. He said it was an easy job he could have done himself. But I would have had to been the one tugging on the rope as the cactus fell. See the video below:

The majestic saguaro coming down.

There is no way I wanted my husband out there with his chain saw and me at the end of the rope. The Cactus Doctor also disinfected the area and hauled off the infected saguaro. It was a lot of money to hire a biologist, get the permit and hire the Cactus Doctor to remove the saguaro, but I think it was better than doing it ourselves.

What’s your opinion on us hiring experts versus doing it ourselves? Did you ever think it would be so involved to remove a cactus?

18 thoughts on “The saga of saguaros

  1. I’ve found that doing some things ourselves can be more expensive and more time consuming than hiring someone else. My husband was a maintenance mechanic before he had to retire and always wanted to fix things around the house but that meant sometimes weeks (or what seemed like weeks) before the job was finished. I’m glad now that I can use the excuse that it is not good for his back to do certain things. LOL. Interesting about the permits for plant removal on your own property.

    • I was worried about safety issues with the saguaro. That’s funny about your excuse with your husband’s back! It’s only saguaro’s that need permits. I think they must be a protected species.

  2. I think it depends on what needs doing, weighing risk versus benefits and skill set involved. I wouldn’t want one of those things falling on me!

  3. I think my husband is pretty good at figuring out things but we do need to hire outside people sometimes. As for me, I am not gifted with wiring up cameras, routers, finding devices on the tethering app…eeh….not one of my strengths. He is wiring up a camera today for our front door. When I hear, “Pull it out of the wall real quick….and model ###….eeh. I am lost.

    • I don’t think I could have handled the lasso around the Saguaro. It was a big guy hanging onto the rope with all his strength while the Cactus Doctor used the chain saw. I used to be okay at routers, etc. But things keep changing and I can’t keep up.

  4. I’m on our local Facebook gardener site and see a lot of stories about people who maintain/trim/remove trees themselves or hire a “professional” who isn’t an arborist to save money, often with disastrous results. Some jobs are best left to professionals. It might hurt the wallet but it’s worth it. I love that your city protects the saguaros so carefully.

  5. It would appear that your Cacti have a better health plan than most Americans, and apparently their PP network is extensive….complete with house calls that you did not even request! Huh. Guess who gets to pay the deductibles?

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