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Tree Guilt

Posted by cookie8 zone 5 ON (My Page) on
Wed, Jan 1, 14 at 9:38

Do you feel guilty cutting down trees? I have three that I want to get rid of because they will become huge maple trees in the next 10 years and will make too much of a canopy where I want to put a future garden. I will replace them with semi dwarf, most likely fruit bearing, trees.
We live on the edge of preserved land so we are surrounded by woods. They are young and typical so I don't feel bad doing it but most others do. I had three young very pretty spruce trees that were in my way and I couldn't bear to cut them down so I placed an ad for anyone who wanted them can come dig them up and take them. I am being rational about this. Is it bad to cut down a healthy tree?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Tree Guilt

Cookie, we live in the middle of a hardwood forest. We cut trees for firewood, as that is our main source of heat.
And yes. we are aware that we are cutting down a living thing. And we are also grateful for the warmth we need to survive.
But it's a constant struggle. Trees come up here in places I cannot allow them to grow. Sometimes we have to remove perfectly healthy trees because they threaten the house or some outbuilding. The wood can and is always put to good use. Seedlings are often removed by the thousands in spring.
It's the nature of gardening. Nature is not a vacuum and your job as a gardener is to choose what lives gets to live in your gardens.
By contrast, mother nature does not seem as concerned as we are. In a wind or ice storm, she is capable of destroying whole forests. The carnage in the forest after a storm is incredible. But a tree removed creates a space for something else to grow and on and on it goes. I suspect each individual gardener is a smaller part of this process than our egos can comprehend.

RE: Tree Guilt

By the way, my partner says the only way to expiate the guilt of having killed a tree is to plant another one.

RE: Tree Guilt

You're welcome.

RE: Tree Guilt

Come on NinaMarie. This sat for days and so I gave up looking - just came back today, lol.
Yeah, I was planning transplanting a semi-dwarf cherry tree and possibly a pear tree in it place of. Now, I just have to get my husband in on my plan as I hate the idea of trying to tackle the trees on my own. I also have to get over my fear of facing some neighbours as they are totally against any removal of trees. Breathe and think that it is my yard any my trees. Thanks for the input.

RE: Tree Guilt


I am facing similar 'dilema', cutting much more than you.
The trees are at least 50yrs old if not more, but unfortunately planted way too close. I am sure they looked great when small, but there is not even 10feet between some. There are also 2 crabapples under huge maple, few cedars and spruces, and 1 young oak that I want to save.

During the recent freeze lots of branches got broken, and that makes it little easier to justify...


RE: Tree Guilt


In your case I would consult an arbourist. That is a beautiful stand of trees, yet I see the issue. My concern is that sometimes we don't see the bigger picture, but someone who has dealt with this can visualize the after effect.

My concern comes from my brother cutting down trees on my parent's property without consulting someone knowledgeable or considering the weakness of what would be left and how things would continue to grow. Unfortunately he cut back the strongest branches and trees and the next storm took everything else down. He decreased the value of the property significantly. Not a good thing.

Just a heads-up.

RE: Tree Guilt

About 16 years ago we built a house, in the front there were 2 large trees. When they dug for a sewer connection there were these huge trenches. When all the work was done the contractor put the soil back. The leaves on the trees were turning yellow. I became so upset at the thought of losing them. So I started watering them for a week or longer, put transplanter fertilizer in the hole. The trees came back and now they have grown so much they are shading so much ground and interfere with hydro wiring. To cut them down would be expensive to say the least. When we had a storm in Toronto in December I was hoping they would be damaged. Only a few branches were lost.

RE: Tree Guilt

As a logger buddy of mine says, trees are just big weeds. I too burn them to keep warm. If you live in the Ottawa Valley, let me know, and I'll come and kill the suckers completely guilt free, so long as I get the fire wood! :-)

Don't forget when you're thinking fruit trees that you might need a pollinator...


I like exotic stuff. But I noticed that the native trees did better during the ice storm. Many of us lost trees and some had flooded basements due to frozen pipes bursting. Anything that grows big is a thunderstorm or ice storm problem. Big trees are just firewood waiting to happen. We should build a big skydome over the GTA and be done with winter!

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