I finally cut some trees down. I had professionals do it since I promised my brothers I would never use the perfectly good, shiny chain saw sitting at the ready in my garage.

I finally cut some trees down. I had professionals do it since I promised my brothers I would never use the perfectly good, shiny chain saw sitting at the ready in my garage. To be fair, my brothers use it to trim the heavily forested lot I live in to prevent limbs from taking out my house. They usually don’t tell me until after it’s over. In my world, the more trees, the better.
Trees filter air and give off oxygen. I have been places that were so deforested, overpopulated and contaminated, it was painful, not to mention unhealthy, to even take a breath. When friends visit, they almost always remark on how tree-covered we are in Missouri, something I suspect we tend to take for granted.
When my husband-at-the-time first found the hillside lot where I currently live, he used a small ax to fell trees. Although contractors said it would have been easier if they could have pushed trees over
with a dozer, my husband said it made him feel like he was an early settler clearing land for his homestead.
I was thankful there were no bulldozers doing more damage.
Maybe it was growing up in a Brazilian jungle but ever since, I have advocated keeping every tree possible. We even had a family “rule” that for every tree we cut down, we had to plant a replacement.
I have been judiciously making up for all the cut Christmas tree cedars by planting native trees and compact fruit trees. I have also been living with a number of scraggly, even dead, trees – woodpeckers love those – until a recent storm almost took out my deck.
Working with a very patient Barry Mankin, 3-in-One Services, we walked around the property and identified trees that were showing signs of poor health.
After also looking at surrounding growth, we used orange tape to identify trees that were to be cut. Once removed, nearby healthy trees should have room to expand and I will get my green cover back.
The hardest decision was to lose an old oak tree, a good friend since 1982 and a nursery to squirrels and robins for who knows how long.
It was the right decision.
We found the center almost hollow. Counting tree rings, the tree was more than 90 years old. I gave a little prayer of thanks for all the air, shade and life it had given us.
Several older redbuds are gone. The ones removed will leave room for remaining ones to expand their crowns and, once again, surround me, and my honeybees, in spring pink.
Nearby dogwoods I planted decades ago for winter bird food will now have room to grow, provided their roots can get through rock to water.
Some of the smaller, straight ash and oak trees are still with me, marking wood-chipped filled paths so I can more easily trim them.
Walking on those soft, bouncy chips is now a pleasure. I also like to think about all of the soil that is being made once those chips decompose. On a limestone hill, soil is precious.
I kept several oak tree pieces to make legs for garden benches. The remainder will be cut up and donated to neighbors, and a local church, for firewood.
There was one redbud I had tied up and trimmed for a number of years at a path corner that was overlooked. I won’t tell if you don’t.
Charlotte Ekker Wiggins is a certified gardener sharing gardening tips in a changing climate at http://www.gardeningcharlotte.com. Copyright 2013 used with permission by Rolla Daily News - St. James Leader Journal - Waynesville Daily Guide. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Contact Charlotte at chargardens@ gmail.com.