Work crew means trouble

We had the shingles on our roof replaced last week. Anybody who has had exterior work on their house knows that the plants are not the crew's main concern, and I knew this before the work started. I had prepared myself mentally (and emotionally) for some damage.

What I always forget though is that those who are not gardeners usually don't understand which plants can take some abuse and which really don't want to be fiddled with, be it hand, rake or whatever. So you sometimes get lucky and shingles are dropped on the right kind of plant (like bamboo above). Usually though you're not that lucky.


In those cases, you get bent leaves:

Broken stems:

Missing plants:

There were two large Agastache foeniculum here.
Now there's half of one...
...and it's bent over to the ground.

It's not every plant that can handle first a tarp thrown over them, then shingles and other debris dropped upon them.

These weigela that I brought home from July's Garden Bloggers Fling in Portland were just starting to look pretty good:

Now they're a bit flat. I'm thinking they'll be fine, but I'd prefer them to look less ground-covery and a bit more upright.

I really should have moved many of these potted plants away from the house, but to be honest, I just didn't think about it. It would have been nice if the rep who set this all up would have mentioned that tarps and debris would be involved, but I'll know next time.

A few key plants were lucky and made it through even though I didn't remember they were in danger until the crew had finished. The plumeria for instance:

At first glance it looks to be untouched, but closer inspection reveals that a leaf is missing and that the little strange growth at the tip -- which I thought might be the start of a flower bud -- had been broken off. The plant as a whole though is fine, and since the growing season is almost over, I'm happy about that.

For the most part, they did a nice job and most of the plants were unaffected:

I don't think there was any damage on this side of the house, but maybe that's because little debris goes over the ends.

Here's a weird complaint: they swept up my porch!

That's only a complaint because there were hundreds of red whisker clammyweed seeds here that I was going to harvest soon:

I'm still going to have loads of seed and uncountable numbers of seedlings next year, but still -- I hate wasting seeds!

My driveway hasn't looked this clean since spring though:

I have to remember not to walk around out here barefoot now. The new nails they use have a bright blue collar around them so they're easy to spot, but the old nails, well, they just blend right in. There's no way that they found all of them, regardless of how many passes with the magnet broom they did!

I'm glad that I had this work done at the end of the summer and not when everything was still fresh. Although that would have given things time to rebound...

So what it comes down to is: work crews mean trouble for your plants!

To be honest, I'm not sure how many of these pots I would have moved or staked for protection had I thought about it earlier. Seems like a lot of work...


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outlawgardener  – (September 8, 2014 at 8:51 AM)  

I'm sorry about your plant damage. Some crews are better than others about protecting plants but their main objective is the job at hand and they aren't as careful as we would be if we were doing it ourselves. But who has the skills and desire to do something like that when we would rather be gardening? Luckily, it looks like most of the damage is reversible. Soon winter will come and clean everything up and spring will bring new growth. And, you'll be dry inside which is always a good thing. We're having our garage re roofed soon and the rep who came out told me to get all of the pots out of the way.

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (September 8, 2014 at 10:47 AM)  

I know exactly what you mean. We had our bay trees trimmed in the spring, and while the crew did a great job overall, even they managed to do some damage: a broke cross-piece in my (admittedly flimsy) Japanese-style bamboo fence, and several noticeable gashes in my Agave chiapensis. And tree trimmers are probably a bit more aware of plants than roofers!

Mark and Gaz  – (September 8, 2014 at 3:02 PM)  

We know that feeling all too well Alan. When they renovated our house recently and most especially our jungle hut, lots of plants suffered too to say the least. Not easy to look at but most will recover. Patience definitely needed...

Lisa  – (September 8, 2014 at 7:47 PM)  

Our bad roofing experience destroyed all new landscaping in the front of our house. Even though they asked us ahead of time to indicate any areas of concern, they still just threw tarps over it and shoveled shingles off the roof as fast as they could pull them up. The good roofer we hired to re-do the job (long expensive story) used decking plywood leaned up against the side of the house to create a "slide" for the materials to slide safely to the ground - brilliant!

LostRoses  – (September 8, 2014 at 11:13 PM)  

It's been my experience that plants are invisible to workmen.

danger garden  – (September 9, 2014 at 12:40 AM)  

Ugh, not a fun experience! When we got the roof replaced on the garage and the house/garage painted I managed to put the workers on notice and they were amazing, next to no damage (although lots of nails as you mention!). Next up are new windows and I'm praying my luck continues.

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