Even though we had cut down our dead tree flush to the ground, we still needed to dig up the root ball and remove it before the new tree was delivered and installed. There was an option to pay $65 for the nursery to do this, but we thought we could easily do this on our own. The tree was only four years old, how hard could it be? The answer: pretty dang hard.
Mark thought he could dig up the root ball and remove it with his hands. After digging a hole twice as big as we expected, he still wasn't able to get the ball out. So he hooked up his tow rope and decided to pull it out with the SUV. The tow rope broke. After a trip to Home Depot and dropping $50 on a metal chain, he was able to pull the ball out. There was one little catch. Without thinking, he had driven the SUV into the garage, not across the street. So now, the SUV is stuck in the garage with a giant root ball behind it and no where to go. We couldn't hook the chain up to my car either because part of the metal chain you would use to attach to the hitch also broke in the process. Mark was going to have to work at home the next day and then beg the workers to take away the root ball. Backed by $20 the workers were more then happy to take it away.
So... that's $25 for the old tow rope, $50 for the new chain with will also have to be replace at around $25 plus $20 for the workers. That's a grand total of $120. Plus the hard labor and time lost.
Moral of the story: If you are going to pay almost $500 for a tree and the installation, you might as well throw in the extra $65 to remove the current tree.
On a happier note, we now have a beautiful, more mature tree in front of the street and no homeowners fine.