First, he tells us, sterilize every tool. Soak them in bleach mixed one to three with water.
“Soak” means five minutes minimum. To sterilize the chain saw, remove the chain and bar and immerse both pieces. The same goes for the hand saw and knife. Rinse them with water. Air dry.
Those of us listening are widely scattered.
Climbing the tallest palms means learning to use a harness and cables. Spiked shoes should never be used. They will permanently damage the trunk.
Use the chainsaw for the large fronds, but care needs to be taken. Saw them close to the trunk, but do not cut the trunk. Cuts never heal. They will leave the tree defenseless.
Pull the boots by hand. Never attempt to saw them off. If they do not pull easily, leave them.
Children are among us because their schools are closed.
Do not use the tools on another palm tree without disinfecting. Never forget that diseases are easily spread by dirty cleaning tools. Where we are, fusarium wilt is the most likely. The lower fronds turn yellow, wilt and die. The upper leaves rapidly follow. At last, a few surviving fronds will form a spike at the top of the tree, but by now the entire plant is dying.
Remember, once a tree is infected, there is no cure.
Most, but not all of us are masked.
If you somehow cause a tree to die, if you give disease its opportunity, you can replant, but understand that you cannot, though it tempts you with nostalgia, reuse the familiar spot where the old tree stood. Listen, even if that already softened and open area invites you, what killed the tree will linger there, patient.
Ignoring this advice is unforgivable.
Latest collection is The Sorrows (Stephen F. Austin, 2020). A new story, “The Corridors of Longing,” will appear in Best Small Fictions 2020. Co-editor of the anthology series Best Microfiction.