We Had to Cut Down 13 Trees

and maybe you do too?? I’m just saying…

UPDATE! Be sure to check the bottom of this post for links to see the finished backyard!

We had really good reasons why we had to cut down 13 trees!

We bought our house in September, 2017

and started renovating… The. Whole. Thing…

Inside and outside were affected with a back addition and new front porch addition. Basement and main floor renovations… seriously everything is affected.

Then to make the outside really look like a war zone, we had to cut down 13 trees in the yard. (and no, I’m not talking about acreage where 13 trees spread out over a bunch of land doesn’t necessarily have much visual impact. I’m talking in town lot!)

But why??? you may ask, would we cut down 13 trees?!

Well we had to, and I’m challenging you to think if you may need to as well. Here’s why we had to cut down 13 trees in our yard:

All the trees we cut down were guilty of some pretty bad things that we just couldn’t ignore.

There were 3 types of trees that met with the chainsaw… Silver Maple, Box Elder and Ash.

Here’s the breakdown of the 13 trees we had to cut down.

3 Silver Maple were planted along the sidewalk, but too close to the Honey Locust in the front yard. They weren’t that large and were already crowding the beautiful gnarly locust. We had to cut down 13 trees

And to top it off… the very first morning we sat in our new living room… (on makeshift stools mind you because there’s no furniture in the house as it’s being ripped apart and renovated) We looked out to take in the lovely view across the road… unfortunately most of our view was blocked with those 3 maple trees.

Off! Off with their heads!

LOL, that was actually a super easy decision… and easy to cut down those 3 little trees… well at least it looked simple as I watched from the living room window. 😉

Next were the 2 Silver Maples flanking the garage door entrance. (I took this pic during the first snow fall)

They were much, much larger than the 3 by the sidewalk. Unfortunately Silver Maple, as some specialists have stated, shouldn’t even be planted in town. They are notorious to drop during a storm. They grow very fast…  and they are messy with all their ‘helicopter’ seeds. I still would have kept them if they weren’t so dangerously close to the house.

Across from the driveway are beautiful Norway Spruce. They’re huge majestic trees with those sweeping boughs they’re so famous for. They are staying! But between the double rows of Spruce and the driveway, (actually just a foot or two from the driveway) was the Box Elder. Another tree considered to be a ‘weed tree’ and it was in such a dumb location. We almost hit it a few times backing out of the garage area… So that was the first tree to go. (because of the speed in which my husband cut it down, I didn’t even get a ‘before’ pic of it)

The final 6 trees to go…

were the Ash trees in the backyard along the back border. we had to cut down 13 trees

(there were 6 ash and 1 scraggly other tree that went too, So I guess this could actually be ‘We had to cut down 14 trees!’)

My friend is a state nursery inspector

She knows more about trees, plants and their diseases than anyone I know. She identified them as Ash for us, and confirmed if they weren’t already infected, by the Emerald Ash Borer, they would be very very soon. The Emerald Ash Borer has been documented in our county.

Then she explained how dangerous keeping them until they were clearly sick could be. When Ash trees are sick, the interior is weakened, but the outside looks fine. What can happen is it can without warning suddenly drop a limb. Sadly people and property have been seriously hurt by these giant limbs falling. There doesn’t even need to be a wind or storm, just ‘BOOM’ down it falls.

Another bad thing about keeping them until they are sick,

is then at that point when they are cut down, it can be very dangerous… they can basically explode when the chainsaw starts cutting into them. (read more: Dying Ash Tree in Your Yard? Prompt Removal is a Must by Chicago Tribune.)

Well what about treating them to prevent the Emerald Ash Borer disease from infecting them? I looked into that too… it was a lot of $$$ and still wasn’t guaranteed to work. Plus, I’m not crazy about the idea of pouring a bunch of chemicals into the lawn to kill the bugs in the tree every year. Next thing will be how that chemical causes cancer or something… no thanks!

So out came the chainsaw! we had to cut down 13 trees

My husband cut down the smaller trees and limbed a bunch off the Silver Maples that were by the garage. But the rest were just too tall, even with the rented lift he had. Therefore, we hired a company that came in and did all the rest of the trees in 1 afternoon. (they came in without much notice… had a cancellation with another party, so wound up with a free afternoon. I’ve learned when a contractor has a free afternoon at the last second… grab it… flexibility is the key to getting things done! They barely got it done… working well into dusk, but they did manage to get it finished that day!)

The ash trees were hanging over the neighbor’s garage. (another reason to get them out of there… if they did drop a limb, that could be really bad in that spot!)

It was relieving to have a company clear them out for us… we had to cut down 13 trees

and they didn’t drop a single branch on the neighbor’s garage roof. Whew! we had to cut down 13 trees

So, good thing is, that part is done. All 13 trees are down, and now we have a clean slate to plan some gardens… (well the potential for a clean slate) we had to cut down 13 trees

It really looks rough out there! we had to cut down 13 trees

As if the construction of the porch and addition wasn’t enough.

There are a ton of limbs and all the stumps all over the place. (My husband is working at clearing them, but it’ll take most of the winter to finish that task)

We could have had them clear everything out, but it costs more and my husband loves to cut wood… and we have a wood burning fireplace, so this was the perfect answer… Have the company cut the precariously placed very tall trees and we’ll do the rest… we had to cut down 13 trees

even in the snow!

Now I have a dilemma…

(any and all input from you would be greatly appreciated!!)

We have this tall stump from the maple tree in the front yard: we had to cut down 13 trees

The stump is located in the front corner by the driveway entrance to the garage. Do you see it, there in the yard? It’s visible from the front porch and from the street.

I was thinking it could be a neat place for a stump carving!

What do you think?

No, not the carving with the animals climbing up the trees… those are cute, but this isn’t the ‘woodsy’ style house or yard. I’m thinking something that would look good with this Mid-Century to colonial revival style house.

Something that looks old fashioned… Maybe a carving to look like a lantern?

Or a huge rooster…

like this picture I found on line…

Any ideas???? Please share!

Also, if you have any experience having a stump carved, give me some idea what to expect and what tips you have for me to think about. (or if you know someone that would be interested in tackling the project for us!) I had a friend suggest looking into talking to a carving/woodworking club to see if they wanted to take it on for a project… hmmm… that’s a good thought!

So now you know why we had to cut down 13 trees… How about you? Do you have any ash trees in your yard that you need to consider taking down, safely, before they unknowingly get sick and drop unexpectedly?

I’m excited to get out there next Spring and start planning some new landscape and gardens… We hope to be planting fruit trees in the backyard, and now with the canopy opened up, they should do well!

Here are more gardening and landscaping posts: (including ones that show the backyard done!)

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This post is linked at these other sites: Skip to My Lou, DIY Showoff, Between Naps on the Porch

Reader Interactions


  1. Marianne Frontino McCreight says

    I agree, definitely a stump carving. I saw several places that do this when I was in the Adirondack mountains in northern New York and also in the upper peninsula of Michigan, near Paradise, Michigan. There are also members of the Sault Saint Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians that are carvers. You could probably find one through the tribal website at
    Frankly, in Ann Arbor, Michigan where I live, it was so cold last week that I would gladly exchange a warmer place to stay for a little working vacation for a while. Maybe you could work something like that out with someone.
    I think your silver maple by the driveway looks like it could be a Gumby or three bear cubs climbing on their mom’s shoulders??? Or maybe a gnome with a cool hat!

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