Considering Our Shade

out of our living room window


  1. that the house does not benefit a whole lot from being shaded by the trees to the south in Summer,
  2. that we could grow a more successful garden where it already is and expand it even more
  3. that we would make room for fruit, nut and coppice trees,
  4. that if we removed those trees we can put solar hot water and perhaps a small PV on our solar south facing and perfectly pitched roof,
  5. and that we would get wood to fire up the stove for a decade,

… we are now leaning towards removing some big trees on our property. These are two beeches – one of them quite huge – two big red oaks and one big white oak, one double-trunked pine tree (might be on neighbor’s property), a couple of smaller oaks and pines, and possibly two more  large red oaks on the west side of the veg garden (not in photo). All the roots will also have to be removed if we want to plant new trees.

We’ve not decided yet because we need a couple of quotes, an equivalent amount of savings, and a lot more thought about the alternatives and, if we go ahead, the replacements. I’m just saying we’re leaning.

I was very adverse to such drastic measures. The wooded feel of this place  and neighborhood is what we fell in love with, and that strong, majestic beech in particular is such a joy. But we won’t be cutting them down for a lawn, and there are a great many more trees on the property. Still, it  is the thought of making solar hot water possible that brings me this far. What with the stove and solar hot water we would need to rely very little, if at all, on the oil burner.

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  1. I would do it. Mature canopy trees like oaks are an ecological treasure, but you have to find a balance between the needs of humans and the ecosystem. As long as you’re planting useful trees in their place that won’t shade you out, it’s a fair compromise. Of course, if you only wind up leaving in a few years, then you’ve irrevocably altered the landscape in a way the new owners may never appreciate, so you have to think about that part of it as well.

  2. It sounds like you are thinking this through well. I agree with GS, there must and can be a balance. And as you say, you would actually be replacing those trees with other plants in a useful landscape. Interesting that you are able to cut down trees on the south side of the house. That is the side we are most badly in need of shade! But of course geographical location makes all the difference.

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