Crazy Maple Story

My friend’s landscape company got a call last year from one client about another client’s Bloodgood Japanese Maple. In fact, both clients had twin maples planted out in front of their respective homes. The first call was a bit of a shocker from Client One, but a second call came from Client Two, also. Both clients used my friend’s company for landscape installs and knew he was an expert in his field.

Both clients had the same grass mowing service mow their respective lawns weekly. Funny thing about those grass mowers, they think they are a full landscaping service. You know what I mean. They pretend to be competent in all facets of the profession.

Well, my landscaper friend is also a nurseryman and tree grower. He also has landscaped both these client’s properties with some of my design work. I would love to show you their properties, but I want to respect their privacy and only show their trees. They both have beautiful yards on a gorgeous tree-lined street. Backyards both have steep inclines with large stones walls and decorative ponds and waterfalls.

Client One’s Huge Japanese Maple. It  is about the same size as Client Two’s original maple.

This is Where the Story Gets Interesting

Client One wants to save some money and calls Mowermen to schedule a trim of their overgrown Japanese Maple. Mowermen agree that they know what they are doing and will do it much more economically than a qualified arborist. Client One hires them for the job. They are told to show up at their convenience to get the job done, irregardless if Client One is at home or not. And they were not.

Client Two’s New Japanese Maple, less than Half the Size of the Original

But where does Mowermen show up, but at Client Two’s property. And what do they proceed to do?

Butcher Client Two’s 30 foot high Japanese Maple, the twin to their neighbor’s tree. The idiots picked the wrong house and wrong Japanese maple. If that was not bad enough, they destroyed the tree.

They used a chain saw to trim the tree. I will repeat. Mowermen used a chainsaw. And with that chainsaw, while removing branches, took huge chunks out of the trunk of the tree, effectively ruining the tree. The tree had to be removed and replaced.

This damage was not done on this tree, but was similarly done to the tree. Where the chainsaw slid it snapped and cracked branches.

Both clients are not at home at the start of this travesty. But another neighbor gets involved and calls Client Two. Client Two comes rushing home to find Mowermen in the middle of chainsawing their 30 foot high Japanese Maple tree down to half its size. Now that would make anybody livid.

Their lawn service is trimming their tree. Panic ensues, and horrified Client Two gives next door neighbor, Client One a call, smartly figuring out what must have happened. Client One races home from a game of tennis. Idiot Mowermen still have no clue they picked the wrong house and wrong tree looking frantically for their work order. Sound familiar. Happened at my house too, but with the City forester.

Well, my friend now gets a call from both of them. Client One, seeing the damage caused by the Mowermen that they called to cut their tree and save money, just destroyed their neighbor’s tree. So now, having witnessed the butcher job that almost befell them, hires my friend to trim their tree.

Client Two also calls. They call for him to estimate the damage to replace a tree of this size, knowing my friend is a grower. My friend gives them a $10,000.00 price for replacement of a 30 feet high, very slow-growing Japanese Maple. Mowermen must pay $10,000.00 for a replacement of the maimed tree and remove and stump it too.

Moral of the story, don’t hire Mowermen for anything but mowing. And make sure Mowermen are properly insured. Also, make sure they know how to mow. These incompetents also scalped the one client’s lawn repeatedly. Don’t get me wrong. I often recommend lawn services to clients for weekly mowing and cleanup. Not this one though, you get what you pay for.

You will probably do a better job yourself if you just take your time and proceed cautiously. Tree Tips Tuesday will have the steps to take for trimming your Japanese Maple. Odds are you could do a better job just following a few sensible tips and taking your time than hiring cocky Mowermen brandishing a chainsaw.

Stop back on Sunday afternoon for my Happy Monday post. It is called Happy Monday-Wabbit News Flash. You can see what happened to my Laceleaf Japanese maple. It has been hard to talk about and I could only do it in a humorous fashion or else I would be typing and crying.

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About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at: http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com
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14 Responses to Crazy Maple Story

  1. One says:

    Oh No! That is disastrous!

  2. tina says:

    I certainly hope the client learned his lesson. This goes in the category of what were you thinking? If you wish to save money then learn to trim the tree yourself-hello! What a mess for the mower men too. I bet their faces were a sight when they found out they made a mistake. $10000 ought to teach them a lesson though I am thinking. What a terrible thing to come home to! Gosh I can’t wait until my J. maples get this big. It seems like it takes forever!

    • Well one of them did. The other one (that did not have their tree destroyed) still retains their very inexpensive services. I am surprised they would come back to this neighborhood. I am guessing the tree that was removed could have been almost 50 years old. The people have lived in these two homes longer than that. I can ask the grower, but I think it takes between forty to fifty years to get 30 feet and that is about their top growth.

  3. Sherri B. says:

    That story was like watching a real horror movie. We have a Japanese maple, I don’t know what kind it is…it hangs down like a shaggy dog. It has grown very slow but it is getting full…Anyway I would be very upset if this happened to any of our trees and I am afraid things would get very ugly if Mowermen came to my house.

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment about my selling on the blog or Etsy.

    • It had to be. I eventually got the call also from these people and my grower. The deed was done, but I was not available to see the tree before it was immediately removed. When the grower went to give them the estimate the same day, the tree was taken down the next day. A new tree had to be ordered and it was only about ten feet high, you can see that in the photo. You can also see it was never trimmed.

  4. Karen says:

    Oh my goodness, I would be back in an ambulance having a real life heart attack if that were my tree! What a disaster! Japanese maples are the most beautiful trees and the thought of someone using a CHAINSAW to prune this or any tree is just the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of. Wow, incompetence in action.

    On vacation, we saw some lovely, lovely Japanese maples about 15′ in height in the graveyards in Ohio. How envious I was of those trees, for we are not able to grow Japanese maples very well with our sometimes harsh winters. To think of a 30′ tree being decapitated is truly a horror story.

    Another must-read post for everyone who owns a tree.

  5. Lisa Ueda says:

    Oh my gosh, that is just horrible. I feel so sad for them, even if they get a replacement, it’s still so sad, I’m sure they’ve grown to love the unique lines and shapes of the tree, and now it will be another one instead. Oye vey what an uh oh.

  6. That is what is so special about Japanese Maple. The unique shape and form. Some of them that have been trained and pruned over the years are works of art.

  7. Oh my gosh! I think I’m having a heart attack now just thinking about it. I would say a huge old Bloodgood like that is irreplaceable. I think I might have to be put to sleep if that happened to me.
    I’m glad you didn’t show pictures of the murder — it would have been too much.
    I think I’ll go lie down for a bit! 🙂

    • To incorrectly trim a probable 50 year old tree is bad enough. Then to use a chainsaw to destroy it. Wow. Trimming it badly, it would have grown back in about six or seven years, but the chainsaw trim destroyed it. Where were the big tree pruners? Mowers probably don’t have the right tools in the first place. Hence the chainsaw.

  8. Toni says:

    YIKES! I would be flippin’ out! I have 20 Japanese Maples in my garden, and I just cannot imagine having this happen. There would be tears, no doubt.

    • Funny thing, it must happen more than you think. In my career and at my residence I have had four such instances where workers show up and take the wrong tree. This was the first time where they went to the wrong property and TOOK THE WRONG TREE. Makes you wonder if they have one brain between them.

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