Into the woods

My husband phoned and told me to stay away from the property we had purchased on which to build our new home. “You’re only going to get upset,” he warned. The only way we could get a septic system in, he explained, was by cutting down some of our most beloved trees.

Trees provide us with everything from shade and clean air to anchoring soil. Most especially, they add beauty to our lives. It’s never easy to cut down a tree. However, even home insurance agencies are starting to look more carefully at the proximity of trees to a homeowner’s domicile.

Last winter during one of the many snowstorms, our neighbors heard a loud crash. They ran to their kitchen window only to discover that it was blocked by two huge evergreens, which had fallen against their house and on their roof.  Not only did those trees have to be completely cut down, but the roof had to be replaced.

That incident was the beginning of a very unusual neighborhood watch. Since we live in a heavily wooded area, everyone began inspecting their trees. This summer I lost an old oak and two white birch trees. I couldn’t bear to watch the tree climbers cut them away. Did they really have to be cut? I kept asking.

As for the oak that never failed to drop a gazillion acorns and clutter the deck every year, it had grown to be twice as tall as the house and some of the branches were already overhanging the roof and causing problems, including moss. Since the house was solar passive, the sun was being obstructed and the branches on the roof were a serious problem. Add to this, not only was this oak leaning directly over the house, but it provided so much shade that the deck was getting ruined. Mildew made the deck extremely slippery. Of course, I wanted to just prune the tree.

An arborist confirmed that the root system was rotting, which caused the tree to lean so threateningly towards our kitchen windows. Lightning had struck it during a storm years ago and only one side of the tree was barely alive.

There are times when it is necessary for trees to be cut down.

*Building a home or creating a farm with gardens and livestock necessitates the downing of trees. Of course, we planted new healthy trees to make up for the loss and so it should be whenever a tree is cut; it should be replaced.

*Considering how many times we’ve lost power due to dead trees falling on power lines, it’s a good idea to let the professionals do what’s best. They know when to trim and when a tree has to go.

*If it is a danger to the home or your neighbor’s home, it has to go. Arborist Ian Sporré of Sporré Tree Service ( says it is important to look for large dead branches, as well as splits and cracks in a tree, which might indicate a problem. “It has to be cut if it’s dead, decaying, and there isn’t enough space to let it just stay,” Ian cautions. “When there is plenty of space, let it stand. All kinds of life feed off of and/or call these trees home. However, a diseased tree that cannot be saved also poses a threat to other trees.”

*Trees that are severely damaged from storms also need to be cut. Every year it seems that someone is killed when a tree falls on their car. Certainly trees need to be cut when there’s danger of a tree falling on a home, person, or automobile.

Ian also points out that there are new methods in cutting down trees: “The new single line rope technique is safer and does less damage to other trees. It is a revolutionary technique.”

*Sometimes an old tree, like my oak, blocks the sun from the other trees that are already crowded out. And then there’s the need for construction. Whether it’s for a home, building, or shopping center, there are times when construction is blocked by trees and people do need homes, buildings to work in, and shopping centers to provide them with food and clothing.

Dead wood
On Hutchinson Tree Care’s website (, the top 10 tree problems are listed including “Winter Injury: During the often cold, dry winter months, evergreen leaves and needles often lose moisture. When the ground is frozen, plants and trees cannot replenish moisture, which ultimately leads to a ‘browning’ or desiccated appearance. Anti-desiccants are applied in late fall to avoid this common plant and shrub condition.”

Weston Arborists’ website ( points out that “tree mortality is a natural occurrence in the environment. Weaker trees die off so stronger trees can grow. It’s important to get a professional to do the job.”

Therefore, on the day my mighty oak came down, I was resigned to the fact that it had to go, but it will be sorely missed.

Additional tree cutting sources:

Rivers Tree, 203-231-4615

Turner Tree, 203-877-5665

Schryvers Tree, 203-228-7972

Magic Garden Tree Service, 203-414-6323

Cabrera Landscaping, 203-748-2477

M. Lato Excavating & Tree Care Experts, 203-852-1166

Mora Landscaping & Tree Removal, 203-515-6694

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