Life Here

November 3, 2020 By Bob Lunning and Ray Arnold

Lemon Tree Planter Box

This project started about 23 years ago when Paradise Valley Estates was built. A fence of sturdy rough-cut redwood had been erected between the 4000 area and the eight acres that has since become a 70-residence expansion. When the fence was removed during construction last year, Roger Breeding, Project Director of Construction, transferred about 20 boards to the Termite project materials inventory.

The boards were full of nails and had 23 years of weathering but were still in great shape. Nails were removed from each board, double-checked by two Termites to ensure none remained. (A hidden nail could cause severe damage to a saw blade and the Termite doing the cutting.) Then the boards awaited a new purpose.

It arrived earlier this spring. The original residents of a Paradise Valley Estates home had planted a lemon tree in a wooden box and the current residents noted that the tree had outgrown the container. They also suspected the old planter box was on its last legs and thought a new, two-foot square model would solve the problem. Enter the Termites.

Several designs were considered before a final plan was selected. The box would be on the side of the residence near several other planters. Size was restricted by the location’s remaining space and the available wood.

Another nail check, then the boards were run through our planer. This device uses a number of blades to skin the top and bottom in order to remove the 23 years’ worth of weathered material. Less than one sixty-fourth of an inch is removed on each pass. After a dozen-plus passes through the planer on both sides, the planks looked showroom clean. The wood was dry and fairly lightweight. New, wet redwood would weigh over twice as much.

Sixteen two-foot planks were cut for the sides and bottom, and four 16-inch pieces were cut for the corner supports. The sixteen-inch pieces were ripped (cut down their length) to make eight pieces two and a half inches wide. Edges were sanded, and construction began.

The finished planter weighs in at almost 80 pounds, so it was built in three pieces. The final assembly took place near the lemon tree. The planter measures two feet square and sixteen inches tall. Maintenance will transplant the lemon tree from its original container to its new home. The growing lemon tree will have a number of good years ahead in this beautiful redwood planter.


Want to receive a monthly round-up of our most popular posts?