Phoenix homeowner finds over a ton of mulch dumped in her driveway

A Phoenix homeowner didn’t want to pay for her tree trimming so the company dumped more than a ton of mulch on her driveway.
Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 7:22 PM CST
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PHOENIX (AZFamily/Gray News) - When 88-year-old Pat Harrison walked out her front door recently, she found more than a ton of mulch dumped in her driveway. She said her first thoughts after finding the mulch were, “What, who, and when?”

So, who put this mound of mulch here and why?

“I hand water about an hour and 15 minutes for all the plants. The rest are on irrigation,” Harrison said, showing On Your Side around her property. Harrison has a lush backyard with a lot of trees that need occasional trimming.

Recently, she hired a company called Trees For Needs, which agreed to trim some of Harrison’s trees for around $500. She mailed them $100 as a deposit to secure the date and allow them to start the work. Just before Trees For Needs arrived, Harrison called the company, saying she actually just needed only one tree trimmed. The company agreed to do the job for only $400. Workers showed up, trimmed the tree, and Harrison said she noticed it took 17 minutes to cut the limbs hanging into her neighbor’s yard.

Harrison said that while she was satisfied with the job, and that workers wrote down that the “customer is happy and completely satisfied,” she claimed that $400 for a job that she claims took a little more than 15 minutes seemed excessive. Harrison said only one worker did the trimming.

“Three of which didn’t do a darn thing except load up a couple of trees and go into their truck,” she said.

When Harrison asked for a discount, the company said “no.” Other than the initial $100 she paid, she refused to pay anymore.

A company representative for the company told On Your Side, “We will not do business with dishonest people like that, and we will certainly not have our payment held hostage after a job well done.”

The company said it also reached out to Harrison to ask for the remaining balance in an amicable way.

Regarding the pile of mulch put in Harrison’s driveway, she claims it was dumped there weeks later, courtesy of the company for the $300 balance she owes.

“I want this company to come and pick it up,” Harrison said. “And if they do, all is well that ends well.”

The owner of Trees For Needs defended dumping the mulch into Harrison’s driveway.

In an email to On Your Side, the company’s owner said, “We didn’t do it in the dead of night or stealth in anyway. We placed it in broad daylight in her driveway, just as we advised her three times we would do,” he said. “We told her that she still owes the money.”

Harrison said she’s now relying on friends and family to remove the mulch one bag at a time.

Now, the mulch has sat there for more than a month. She said she’s grateful for the help.

“I want to thank them because they did not dump on the side where I park my car,” she said. “If they’re going to dump, they dumped in the right place.”

Even after dumping all that debris, Harrison said she got a letter from Trees For Needs’ attorney demanding that she pay the $300 balance.

But with the help of On Your Side, Harrison’s unsightly mess is being cleaned up. And Harrison said she couldn’t be happier.

“I have been just so depressed until you (Gary Harper) contacted me that I just didn’t know what to do,” she said.

Harrison said she was not in the financial position to pay someone to remove the mound of mulch. So, she and her friends contacted On Your Side for help.

“How happy will you be when all this mulch is off your property?” Harper asked.

“Ecstatic. Because I can’t imagine anyone doing this,” said Harrison.

And that’s where Moon Valley Nurseries comes into play. They have nothing to do with dumping all this mess, but On Your Side explained Harrison’s situation to them, and Moon Valley eagerly got involved to help out by agreeing to remove all that mulch and hauling it away at absolutely no cost to Harrison.

“It’s awesome to be able to have the opportunity to take care of this for her and to relieve that stress,” Luke Kelwaski of Moon Valley told On Your Side.

Joy Fichiera is also with Moon Valley.

“We are always willing to help. We love to support all of our community members. We’re here to do the right thing,” she said.

And that’s good news because Moon Valley workers on the scene discovered all that mulch was heating up and becoming combustible after sitting there so long. One worker described the mulch as feeling like an oven.

“Man, it’s hot as can be,” one worker said as he rubbed his hands through the mulch.

“Could all this stuff have caught fire?” Harper asked.

“Absolutely!” the worker said.

With the help of Moon Valley’s large equipment and manpower, all of that mulch was eventually removed from Harrison’s driveway in about an hour and a half. Throw in a garden hose and some sweeping and that one-ton eyesore was like it was never here, thanks to Moon Valley’s generosity.

“Thank you, thank you,” Harrison told a Moon Valley employee as she blew kisses at him.

“No problem,” he said, “I’m just glad we could help you.”

And, of course, Harrison said she owes it all to On Your Side for getting involved as well.

“Boy, oh boy. I can’t shout your praises enough,” Harrison told Harper, smiling.

“You’re a fan of On Your Side now?” Harper asked.

“Yes, the biggest,” she said.

If this viewer had to pay for all that equipment and workers, it would have come to more than a $2,000 bill. But again, Moon Valley did it for free and On Your Side really appreciates their involvement. By the way, Moon Valley says they’ll be able to put all of that mulch to good use in their nurseries.