The decision to remove a tree can be difficult. If the tree’s been with you for a while, or if you’re a tree-person, it’s nothing short of heart-wrenching. For tree-people, it’s like parting with an old friend.
Love and attachment though, are not sufficient reasons to keep a tree.
I’ve had many a discussion with clients, and my husband, about parting with trees. As a tree-lover myself, it’s a tough decision to make.
The decision is easiest if the tree is in very bad condition.
Trees that are overrun with disease are best removed, as they are unlikely to recover.
Those putting up a brave battle with a disease are well worth keeping. Make sure you know what the disease is, and follow the treatment faithfully. This may include vigilant pruning, regular spraying with a pressure hose, and perhaps a chemical application at a specific time.
Trees at the mercy of an infestation, such as our friends the aphids, cankerworms, or forest tent caterpillars, usually recover.
Trees that have been poorly pruned into misshapen monstrosities no self-respecting tree should have to endure should go. Tree topping (cutting off the main trunk or the main limbs) heads up the list. As does cutting off the lower branches of spruce trees. Trees having suffered this treatment ,don’t recover so put them out their misery.
Sometimes the tree is just too big.
If it’s creating too much shade, a proper pruning can open it up and allow some light through. The difference between dappled and dark shade can be the difference between keeping the tree or not. Before you pick up the saw or clippers, learn how to prune properly. There’s lots info available. In the case of large trees, hire a certified arborist.
A healthy tree in a bad location is the toughest to part with. The spruce tree completely blocking the front window is a classic. I’ve also found them pushing their way across sidewalks and driveways. They need to go.
If it’s wreaking havoc with the house and foundation, it needs to go.
A healthy apple tree that’s too much work? Perhaps a neighbour would be thrilled to have a regular windfall of apples. She picks the apples; you keep the tree.
Parting with a tree is not easy, but if needs be, do the deed. A new tree, in the right location, on a regular pruning schedule will help fill the hole in your heart.
Carla Keast has a masters degree in landscape architecture and is a Winnipeg-based freelance landscape designer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.