Another one bites the dust

saguaro fallen down

Another saguaro down.

We’ve lost three saguaros since we’ve moved here. The fourth one went down last week.

I was sitting by the window in the casita and glanced outside as a huge saguaro crashed to the ground. I was glad I wasn’t standing in the way! That was the first one we lost.

We called a cactus doctor and he walked around our yard diagnosing saguaros.

He found one with a disease and he recommended having it removed or the disease would spread to our other saguaros. That project included not only paying the cactus doctor, but getting a permit from the city. An inspector came out to look at the saguaro and signed off on the permit. Then we had to hire another company to cut down the saguaro and remove it. That was saguaro number two that bit the dust.

The third was in the front yard and one of our only ones with arms. It was turning brown from the base that was slowly creeping up. The cactus doctor told us we’d need to brace it if we wanted to keep it. A neighbor told us that the previous owners had that saguaro treated for something a couple times. One day we walked out the front door and it was down.

Then last week after all the rain and a big wind, this smaller one was laying on the ground. The cactus doctor told us that once they fall they are traumatized and can’t make it if they’re replanted. In spite of his words, I wish we would have tried to replant the first one that fell.

We asked our gardener to try to save this guy. There’s a crack along the crown but we hope it lives.

This saguaro has been given a chance to live.

What special plants or trees do you have that need attention?

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?