Cutting the Santol (Cottonfruit) Tree

After much dilly-dallying, we decided to have the big and tall Santol (Cottonfruit) tree cut more than half its height. Finally. This is the tree which is at our neighbor's backyard which is adjacent to our backyard. So you can imagine the proximity of this tree to the back of our house.

This tree has been a maintenance problem for us. The owner doesn't even live here while the tenants (relatives of the owner) do not seem to care much about risk to life and property. For several years now, we contract a handyman to climb this humongous backyard tree to cut its top and side branches.

Yes, its us who pay this handyman after asking permission from the tenants. And we specifically ask the handyman to cut only the branches from the side of the tree that is facing our house. This handyman, Dods, is quite skilled needing only a machete to cut the tree's branches.

Problems with Big Trees

  • Plenty of Falling Leaves and Overripe Fruits

    Much of these end up as our own yard trash which in the past we had to burn in the lawn. I'm not fond of the santol fruit anyway, so I don't care much for the fruits. How I wish I could just collect all their dried leaves and dump it all in their backyard. The homemade yard trash incinerator I recently made could only handle so much.

  • Foliage Debris Entering Windows

    When the wind blows towards the backside of our house, tiny pieces of foliage debris inadvertently enter our windows on the second floor. Some end up on the floor and a few even on the bed.

  • Foliage Debris in the Roof Gutters

    On several occasion, we've asked our handyman to clean our roof gutters of foliage debris. As it turns out, much of the debris rot after getting wet from the rains. Sometimes the leaves clog up the gutter storm pipes if left to pile for so long.

  • Danger to Life and Property

    This is the biggie. It's only in this decade that we've been getting super typhoons with the climate change and what not. When typhoons come, we could fearfully see how the big tree sways towards our property. If the tree falls on their property, that's up to them. But certainly, we wouldn't want this tree to pose a big danger to anyone.

  • Limited Sunlight

    This is minor. But because of the huge shade this tree creates, the area below it on our side gets limited sunlight. Since we have many plants, we would rather have plenty of sunlight in that area. Another is the benefit of sunlight in drying laundry.

Cutting the Big Tree

It took two men to cut up the entire tree. It's almost like two trees actually, because the main trunk which you couldn't embrace, had two big main branches. The leader of the two suggested skinning the tree if we wanted it to die.

The idea was that much of the xylem would be removed and no adventitious buds would grow. I wanted it to die but DH wanted to make sure with the tenants if they were okay with the suggestion.

The tenants agreed with the cutting but rejected the idea of skinning the bark off the tree.

And so the two men went to work cutting the tree leaving only 10 to 12 feet from the base. It was hard work because the tree's wood is hard. It took them almost a whole day and the photo below shows what was left as seen from our yard.

Now the view from our second-floor bedroom window is much clearer and brighter with the entire foliage gone. You can see the two cut big branches in the foreground in the photo below.


I was so glad that we had it cut. A couple of weeks later, typhoon Glenda damaged much property in our area, toppling electric posts, blowing off roofs and, yes, uprooting big trees.

Go ahead, post your comment below!

Anonymous said...

hi! its been more than 5 years now that the tree was cut in half. May I know if the tree is starting to grow again? or is it bound to die? I have the scenario but in my case, I want to retain it or if I could find a way to live with the tree. The tree was in front of our house.

Blackdove said...

Hi artsmasters. Sorry for the late reply. The tree at the back died.