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Maple Tree Before blog size
Last week Dale and I killed a tree.

Our reasons were good and just. It was a very big maple tree and it was very close to our house. It had become a target for winter moths every spring and a superhighway to our roof for the many squirrels in our yard.

Bye Bye Tree blog size

Hannah was rather emotional about the whole thing. I’m pretty sure it was tied in with her new go-vegetarian-green-earth-college-student mentality.

Tree Half Gone blog size

I will say, the process was fascinating. Dale and Brant and I sat and watched the whole thing. I considered making some popcorn but thought that might be disrespectful to the tree.

Limbs Being Cut blog size

This guy in the bucket never stopped. He was one-handing the chain saw and pushing the limbs to the ground with his free hand. Another guy was on the ground sending the small stuff into a chipper and setting aside the big stuff. The entire process took about 3 hours, which amazes me.

Toppling The Rest blog size

It took 5 strong men and a lot of cutting before the big stump finally toppled over. That’s a big pile of wood there and Dale will be cutting and splitting it for us to use in our wood stove. That’s definitely a bonus to the whole situation.

Side Yard No Maple Tree blog size

So there you have it. Our side yard without the big maple tree. Dale loves it and is happy about this side of the house being open to air and light. The gutters will stay cleaner, the winter moths won’t leave their sludge all over our bulkhead, the squirrels won’t have such easy access to our roof, the lawn will be easier to mow and there will be far fewer leaves to rake. Not to mention that if we get hit with a big hurricane we won’t have to worry about this tree landing on our house. All positive outcomes, if you think about it.

And yet I still have mixed feelings about the whole thing. I’ve never killed a tree before.

This Post Has 30 Comments

  1. As an arborist, I’ll be the first to say that not all trees are good trees. I can’t tell from the photo but there are many maples in MA that are invasive – Norways, Sycamore maples. They should always be taken down no question. Even if it was a sugar maple, it’s ok to remove it. Something that close to the house wouldn’t be too happy anyway competing for root space, etc. It looked like it had a split trunk which inherently weakens the tree, inviting disease and pests later on. If you’d like some suggestions on smaller trees you can place further out, I’d be happy to help. For example, something called a chionanthus (fringe tree) is really lovely. xx

  2. Maybe you could plant a couple of other trees to offset the one you took down (I don’t like to say you killed it!). Carol is correct – not all trees are good.

  3. I hadn’t realized how close the tree was to the house. Good move on all the fronts you and Carol mentioned.

  4. The big open space will take you some time to get used to and you may miss the shade. Are you going to plant smaller, better suited trees in it’s space? It’s always a good idea to remove trees that grow too close to the house. Nice work!

  5. Having watched my dad kill a few trees, I have to agree: not all trees are good trees. And, having had a tree land on my house, I will also offer that bad trees do happen to good people. And it takes a heck of lot longer than 3 hours to remove it from your house…

  6. Don’t think of it as killing a tree. Think of it as being green and conserving fuel for the winter months.

    Dale is going to have quite the work out chopping all that wood! My hubby has been doing the same since friends of ours took down one of their huge maples and gifted us with the wood. Oh my gosh. It’s a huge pile of warmth for the winter!

  7. You can now add “tree-hugger” to the list of go vegetarian-green
    earth-college mentality!! Had to throw in a little humor!

  8. Sounds like a good move to me. I like reading all of the comments suggesting planting another one. Small ornamental crab apple trees (that stay small) can be nice accents off the corner of a house. Meanwhile I’m going to go Google the chionanthus that Carol suggested in the first comment. I haven’t heard of that one before.

  9. Yes, sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. One thing that we tend to do when planting a little tree is to forget how big it will be when it grows up, and it always seems like that time will be so far away when you’re actually planting it.

  10. Maybe it’s a day to read the wonderful book The Giving Tree? I think in the long run you’re going to like the open space and possibly a new tree.

  11. Sad, but necessary. Aren’t those tree guys amazing to watch? Larry had five huge boxelder trees cut down out of the back yard when he bought this house – each one was probably about the size of yours, and our yard is TINY. It was a shame to lose all of that shade, but they were total trash trees, and brought millions (literally) of box elder bugs with them that got all over and into the house.

    Aren’t those tree guys amazing? Ours had to use a crane to lift the tree trunk pieces over the fence and sometimes over the roof of the house to get them out of the yard. I couldn’t believe how fast it all went.

  12. It is hard to have a tree removed, isn’t it? But that’s so great that you can use the wood!

    I like the idea of planting another tree somewhere. Maybe you can plant it in honor of Hannah starting college. Later when she visits with her kids she can say “See how big that tree is? We planted that the year I started college.”

  13. No doubt you are already amazed at the increased light inside your home. I am still missing a catalpa tree two doors down that was cut several years ago — what can I say, I’m sentimental — but could not believe the difference its absence made to the light in the living room! It wasn’t even in my yard!

  14. We’re doing the same thing later this summer to a hemlock It’s right up against the house and really needs to go. We’ve got plans to put in a red bud to replace it. I’m looking forward to the change. I hope you’re enjoying the sunshine!

  15. wow. that was a big job. And while I’m sure you will miss the shade on the house, resolving the other pestilence is a good thing.

  16. Sometimes, you have to kill something to allow something else to grow – and space is a good thing. (Redbud sounds really good, too)
    I appreciate Hannah’s feelings and can add to treehuger/veg/student thing one more item – her history is kinda tied up in the tree, too, so that’s a change that’s a hard one at her age (I had a problem tree in my teenage years, too, and railed against the power company who took it down, but they were right). (please don’t tell the power company I ever said they were right about anything, okay?)

    And I’m not sure you waylaid the squirrels for long, either.

  17. Don’t think of it as killing a tree. Think of it as recycling. Wood chips,firewood. nothing goes to waste.

  18. You’ll be happy the next time we get a giant lightening storm. We have had to take out a couple of trees over the years. I don’t love it either, but I’d rather do it voluntarily than pull it off the roof (or living room!)

  19. Some times a tree just has to go…but at least you got firewood! We had to take a couple down from my old house in Florida – and it was sad to see them go – but a lot safer since they were rotting in the center – and a good wind or hurricane and they would have been in the house…

  20. We had that happen to us recently – only we had 3 big trees and picture the crane OVER our house to get to the trees! It was sad – part of the reason we bought the house was because of the trees, but they were just too big for the space and we think when our neighbor hired a “discount” tree trimmer that they killed the trees a few years ago. It’s definitely a big and costly project.

  21. Our city requires if you take out a tree of a certain width in the trunk that you replant a new tree. A great idea!

  22. When we moved into this house 14 years ago, there were three huge silver maples and a douglas fir. Now there is only the fir. The first maple died after a huge ice storm in ’04, and we took it down. The second, just feet from our living room window, suffered severe damage when Hurricane Ike blew through Ohio in ’08. In January, we had the last one taken down – behemoth tree that was still fairly healthy, but had huge limbs that hung over both our house and the neighbor’s house. We lived in fear of every windstorm. I watched them take down the tree and when the trunk fell, I cried. Romeo and I were both very attached to that tree, though we knew it had to go. We’re researching it’s replacement – probably a nice big lilac!

  23. It must have been hard to see that big tree go, but as someone mentioned before….sometimes it just has to happen for the safety of your home and family. Those big tree roots can cause havick with your foundation competing for water and of course there is the worry that the tree could land on the house during a storm…..but it’s sad all the same isn’t it?

  24. I know just how you feel. I hated watching our neighbor the tree-killer taking down all the gorgeous trees in his backyard. We’ve only removed one – for good and just reasons – but even so I was happy that I wasn’t home to see it go.

    Maybe you can find something smaller and less problematic to plant to offset the removal.

  25. My sister in Sagamore Beach had a big old maple too close to her house, just like yours. Every time they did any work on the house it suffered, and years of tree swings, and beetles and septic work, and a new terrace just wore the tree out – they had to take it down last year because it was half dead and dangerous. And yes, the yard is very much brighter, but the shade and the companionship of the old tree are missed. The best thing to do is plant new young trees where you want them.

  26. I understand your ambivalence. Agree on the foundation, and water supply invasion, not to mention less worry on the storm front.

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