Yes, even tree huggers cut down trees!

Trees in backyard being cut down.  June 2012

Trees in backyard being cut down. June 2012

Don’t be too quick to judge.  Even people who care about the environment and love trees may make the decision to cut them down.  Believe me, I know.  I hired a firm to cut down all the loblolly and white pines growing within 50 feet of the house.  The work was done in 3 phases.  When finished 75 trees, most 2 feet in diameter, had been taken down.  The decision wasn’t made lightly.  It was made over time and was driven by fear.

White Pine in Ice Storm.  December 2005

White Pines felled by Ice Storm. December 2005

In 2005 there was an ice storm that coated everything with over 1/2 inch of ice.  We listened through the night as branches snapped, and popped.  A low rumble could be heard as larger branches fell through the canopy and a deep whomp as trees hit the ground.  The ice melted within a day. But the damage took weeks to cleanup.

ice 029

I’m standing with three pines that fell during the ice storm. Dec. 2005

Another ice storm dropped several limbs on the garage.  One pierced the roof and half the branch was visible from inside the garage.  The last ice storm took the power meter right off the house.  We felt lucky, the house had been spared.  We loved the trees, the privacy they gave us, and their shade on hot summer days. But they also scared us.  Whenever the wind blew or ice was forecast our chests tightened.  We lived in fear.


December 2010


The landscape contractor I hired didn’t like removing trees any more than we did.  He agreed to chip as much as possible and leave the chipped material on site.  The chips would be used as mulch or allowed to compost.  The logs were hauled off but anything that went through the chipper stayed on site.  When the work was done I was both sad and relieved.  To be honest I didn’t know how I felt.   I took no joy in cutting down the trees.

06-18-12 tree 039

Wood chip pile behind Magnolia. June 2012


As time passed I realized that cutting down the pines afforded us new opportunities.  As the realization sunk in I was overwhelmed with the possibilities only now open to us. For the first time since buying the property we had more than 4 hours of  full sun.  We had enough sun to plant fruits, vegetables, berries and a host of sun loving ornamentals. We would replant; but unlike the developer who designed this subdivision, we would not plant row after row of pine.   And we would no longer live in fear.

icestorm dec 15 2005 015

Japanese Maple, December 2005. (Still Standing)

“Judge tenderly, if you must. There is usually a side you have not heard, a story you know nothing about, and a battle waged that you are not having to fight.”
Traci Lea LaRussa


4 thoughts on “Yes, even tree huggers cut down trees!

  1. Cutting down trees is such a difficult decision to make, Maria, but it is sometimes necessary. In your situation, it was a wise choice.

    I remember making the same decision when I first moved into my house in the fall of 2011. There were two very old willow trees intertwined in the front yard. One tree was healthy, and the other was dangerous – I could see daylight through the rotting base and trunk. I decided to have only the rotten tree removed, afraid it would fall and injure someone. It’s heavy branches hung over the street where children walked to and from school every day, and where elders walked their dogs. This summer, a large branch from the remaining willow tree did fall over the road during one of the many wind storms we get here. I had it trimmed. For now, it’s still healthy and a beloved monument in the neighborhood.


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