I need your thoughts and advice. We have an unidentified tree in the back. It is HUGE. I am assuming it is between 25-35 years old based on some info about it’s planting – from the neighbours. It has a leaf with opposite leaf arrangement where leaflets are similar in size and shape, and it’s compound. A very amateur leaf identification says ash.
Unfortunately, the tree was planted smack dab in the middle of the lot. It shades half the lot at the best of times. It will cover our deck completely when we finally get to build our deck. It cuts down on veggie garden space because of it’s placement. It drops large quantities of these compound leaves that are impossible to rake, and it drops them VERY late so that the rains have been around for a while. Our neighbours have complained about the quantity of the leaves (in the nicest manner), so we got the tree pruned last year by an arborist. I forgot to ask him to identify the tree then, stupid me. Anyway, it’s not an easy tree to live with, and it’s not a fruit tree so it’s not productive in terms of the garden. Everyone I’ve asked, and some I haven’t, have told me to cut the tree down.
On the other hand, I do not believe in cutting down trees. I am vehemently AGAINST cutting down trees. I don’t think we should be allowed to cut down trees – and in many cases we’re not. Warning: legal speak coming up.
The City of Vancouver’s Protection of Trees Bylaw states that you can “remove a tree from, or to relocate or replace a tree on, a site only if: (a) the location of the tree is within a building envelope defined or described under a development permit or building permit, and changing the siting of an accessory building within that envelope to allow retention of the tree is not possible; (b) a plumber, accredited under the Industry Training Authority Act of British Columbia, certifies that the roots of the tree are interfering with, blocking, or damaging a drainage or sewage system; (c) an arborist certifies that: (i) the tree is interfering with, or is in such close proximity to, utility wires as to be a danger, and (ii) topping or pruning the tree to avoid such interference, or lessening the proximity, would result in the tree being unlikely ever to regain its health or characteristic appearance; (d) an arborist certifies that the tree is causing damage to property, including damage to roofs, retaining walls and sidewalks, that standard arboriculture practices cannot rectify; (e) an arborist who is a tree risk assessor certified by the International Society of Arboriculture certifies that the tree is a hazardous tree; (f) an arborist certifies that damage to the tree has occurred to the extent that the tree is likely to suffer from disease or die prematurely; or (g) an arborist certifies that the tree is dying and is likely to be dead within six months or is dead.
OK if you didn’t read that (and I understand), we’d have to have the arborist come back in and say whether we fit any of these provisions. I would assume we fit the wire one, because unless we spend $750/year to have him continually prune that side of the tree it’s going to be in amongst the wires to our house.
Anyway, I just wish the tree had never been planted there. I would much prefer a fruit tree that wasn’t in the way. I don’t know if I should just get over it and keep working around it or actually go ahead and replace the tree. I would probably plant an Italian plum, to be able to have a second plum around for our Japanese Golden Plum so we could have some fruit off of it! Also, it could be planted about 10 feet north and still give some shade in the garden and to cool the house in the summer, without shading the whole veggie garden.
so, here’s my handy-dandy table of tree:
Keep the Tree
Replace the Tree
|It’s wrong to kill a living organism||It’s dangerous for the tree to be in the wires|
|It shades the south end of the house keeping it cooler in the summer||The plum can shade a bit.We have a lot of openable windows and doors in the south and a healthy cross-breeze so it rarely gets too hot anyways. Also, it shades the deck area where we would like some sun|
|It helps manage water runoff||We put in a small gravel pit and we’re installing rain barrels etc to capture water more efficiently|
|It provides nesting areas for birds||The plum tree would provide the same, as well as flowers with pollen etc for birds AND bees|
|It’s got a long straight trunk that’s good for building a kids’ play structure around||That would be a bummer, because plum trees are NOT good for that. I think most Italian plums are clime-able though…|
|Free up space for vegetable garden|
|Less shade on vegetable garden|
Finally, here is a really awful picture of the tree that gives you an idea of its placement in the yard (taken from the kitchen door, without the deck). Putting a plum tree 10 feet closer to the house and off to one side should be entirely possible, no? Please inundate me with your thoughts on whether to keep or lose the tree. Also, if you know of ways to use the tree if I do cut it down, please tell me about that. All I know so far is around the benefits of wood ash (not sure if I will get away with an illegal bonfire post-felling).