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Old 01-17-2010, 01:54 PM
 
1 posts, read 4,692 times
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I have a small house in the San Fernando Valley which is surrounded by trees, both on City and personal property. The one right in the front of the house (my property) is a California Fan palm\ washingtonia which is OK but I am not in love with. The trunk is about 5 feet from my dining room window and the height is just about high enough to squash me in my bed if we get the Big One (earthquake) and it was uprooted and fell backward.

Problem #2: I've been advised by Rooter guys that the palm's roots have infiltrated the 50 year old drains in the front of the house (ceramic with joints allowing the roots to penetrate.) They suggest new plastic drains that are jointless and supposedly earthquake resistant but nearly $4000. They also tell me my cast iron drains under the house are beginning to leak and replacement is another $3500 or so.

I admit I am financially strapped (became disabled a year ago and will soon be income-less) so I can't afford to replace the pipes entirely.

I am considering a) powerwashing the pipes (which would clean out the roots they tell me) and b) cutting down the Palm tree-- preventing root infiltration in the future so I can buy some time with the old ceramic drain system, and c) just replacing the local piece of the cast iron drain which is leaking under the house. The Rooter guys tell me I am just putting off a necessary job, but they don't have to pay for the new roof I need and the repair/replacement of two ancient deteriorating bathrooms among other expenses! I realize that in a big earthquake the old drains would probably rupture,but FEMA helped pay for uninsured quake damage in the '94 quake and I can keep my fingers crossed in the meantime......

I admit the quake in Haiti made me think about some of the risks I could prevent in my environment.

I figure getting rid of the Palm tree might also prevent me from becoming a squashed victim if the quake we are expecting happens.
Any advice, especially regarding the likelihood of a palm uprooting in a big quake would be appreciated!
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Old 01-19-2010, 10:06 AM
 
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Palm trees are very unlikely to topple.

The biggest issues are as you note the roots, and, also, the fronds can land wrongly on phone lines / power lines, etc.
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Old 01-19-2010, 10:33 AM
 
Location: South Bay
7,091 posts, read 18,421,358 times
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palm fronds can also land on parked cars, so be mindful of that. they also land in the streets and the city takes forever to clean them up.
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Old 01-19-2010, 12:27 PM
 
32,538 posts, read 29,333,321 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BRinSM View Post
palm fronds can also land on parked cars, so be mindful of that. they also land in the streets and the city takes forever to clean them up.
I used to just clean up my own. Looked both ways for cars and walked out and picked them up and put them in the trash. I also swept up the "dates" when they came raining down in the Autumn. Never would have thought of waiting for the city to come and help.

Am I missing something here?

And in 50 years of living in CA I never saw a palm tree fall over.
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Old 01-19-2010, 12:45 PM
 
12,825 posts, read 19,275,714 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BRinSM View Post
palm fronds can also land on parked cars, so be mindful of that. they also land in the streets and the city takes forever to clean them up.
Heh! ... had a bit of an obstacle course in a few places this AM.
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