grapefruit tree picking girl on ladder

It’s time to say goodbye to our grapefruit tree

grapefruit tree picking girl on ladderPhoto by Melissa Schollaert

Oh man, I’m actually writing this post. The title itself just kills me. For those of you who are longtime readers, you may have come to be quite familiar with this tree above, really the center of the backyard and the focal point of many of my backyard photoshoots and any backyard shots I’ve shared over the years.

Photo by Melissa Schollaert

For newer readers, I’d love to share a little history and why this grapefruit tree has been a big deal around our home and on the blog. Our house sits on a former citrus grove in Central Phoenix. There are still a few orange and grapefruit trees scattered around our neighborhood that have survived over the years. The lifespan of citrus trees is approximately 50 years. Ours has definitely lived beyond her sweet years since our home was built in 1952. I also commissioned a watercolor illustration of me in front of a grapefruit tree.

Last year a major branch fell off which left me in tears. I was heartbroken and wrote a post about it later that evening.

You can see the trunk has been hollowing itself out for a while and it makes me quite nervous being around it – I don’t think it’ll topple over but after 6 years of noticing it’s halfway deep when we first moved in, it made me a bit more concerned as the years have passed. My dad told us not to get rid of it just yet, wait it out and take some photos when I could and also until I could mentally let it go. I have a hard time with goodbyes, in life, with chapters, it’s just really hard for me – minus high school I was ready to leave at age 15.

We had our horticulturist Noelle from AZ Plant Lady come by at the end of summer and we talked about plans – and she agreed, it was time. First we thought we’d make a mound like I saw in Switzerland with florals but considering the incredibly wonderfully invasive Bermuda grass and the idea of Benjamin or our gardener mowing it, I just crack up laughing.

And then I think of how we’d actually keep anything on it alive it makes me say – ok, forget it.¬†We’re still citrus tree owners, we planted a lemon, pink lemon, lime and cumquat so the citrus love is still there. I’m dying for the stone fruit trees though so maybe we’ll add a few in 2018.

There’s nothing like a new year to say, we’re finally going to do this. I’ll be sad to not see this view from the patio or walking the window –

But you can tell we’ve been preparing for this, already planting three additional trees around it – a Chinese elm that’s hidden behind the roses, and to the left an ash tree and in front a beautiful Chinese Pistache (I just realized we have Chinese plants haha, way to give props to my culture). The pistache should be changing color with the seasons but I don’t know what is going on right now, it usually turns a pretty orange/red before it falls but I think it’s been quite warm. The red oak tree to the far right has taken it’s cue to go into hibernation but it will only be for two months before the cute velvet baby leaves return in February.

Our yard will look quite spacious once the grapefruit tree is gone, a different view for sure. I’ll share the removal as we have already begun yesterday. It’s so sad. I don’t like to remove trees for any reason, but we have already removed a few due to tree fungus, age, and our sweet grapefruit tree fell in that category. I’ll give an update soon on the change of scenery in the backyard. Meanwhile, please pray for the safety of Benjamin with his chainsaw. He plans on tackling this entire thing by himself – actually, can you also pray for our chainsaw too because he broke the last one – he failed to explain how.

Thanks for reading this and being on the journey with me. xx

Diana Elizabeth is an author, photographer, and obsessive thrift shopper. You can typically find her in the garden wrist deep in dirt, at a local estate sale or planning her next epic party. She continues to blog weekly.


  • Martin L. Hughes

    Hey Neighbor,
    I say that because I live in Sun City Arizona. That retirement community Northwest of the valley.
    I realize this is an old post but I was born in 58 and that makes it only right that I comment on an old post. (Somehow that sounded better in my head) regardless.
    I to will have to say goodbye to an old friend. She is a good size grapefruit tree. I’d say her circumference is about 20 feet across. She has always been a real producer giving large size fruit in great numbers every year. She’s been the center piece of our back yard for over 30 years that no know of. When my mother bought the house, the tree was already a mature tree producing large amounts every year. When my children were younger we would come to my mom’s home and leave with bags and bags of fruit for my family and friends.
    I bought the house a few years back and due to the medication I’m taking I can no longer eat grapefruit.
    It has been a fight keeping the reappear at past year and only now I have found out why. Citrus trees only live for around 50 years. This home was built on a Citrus Grove once owed by Boswell. The house was built in 1969. No way to tell how old the tree was at that time. I feel like I’ll be cutting down a piece of history. It’s sad but its time to put her down. I’ll be leaving the stump. I have a friend who is handy with carving and will commissioned him to do something special with the stump maybe an eagle sitting on a perch.
    I enjoyed your story very much hope things are well in your newer trees have taken off. This is the only blog that I read of yours so I’m not sure how well your chainsaw and Benjamin faired during the removal of the tree.
    Be well.

    • Diana Elizabeth

      Hello Neighbor Martin, thanks for your comment and sharing your story. I really empathize *sigh* But it’s good to know that’s how long the trees last, that sounds about right – our home is a 1952 home and the tree was possibly already there (or, planted at the beginning of the home’s existence). Our new trees are thriving. We have a few ash and Chinese elm trees and a pistache!

  • Carrie

    At least you have beautiful memories and photos to remember!!!c


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