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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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