Let’s say you have a mature tree on the southwest side of your house. We will call it “tree X.” Now then, tree X decides for whatever reason, to barf a giant limb. Or tree X shows the signs of succumbing to a pathogen that will in all likelihood be its final demise, and your arborist condemns it. What to do?
My advice is to envision replacement BEFORE removal. This of course will depend upon the risk of leaving tree X in place long enough for a trip to the nursery. A big shout out to the good folks at Plant Oregon in Talent, as they are extremely helpful in this regard. Take a picture or two and maybe a site map with you and plan on spending some time there, this goes a long way to ease the pain of losing your beloved tree X.
I find that almost always the replacement you pick will be better in the long run should you find the need for a removal and replacement.
If the replacement of tree X is immediate because of a risk of failure of tree X, you may not be able to put off removal, and you should not wait.
Some of the many things to consider will be the site itself. What if we play the new tree a little more to the right or left? How about scooching it in a little bit, to give the overhead power lines a little more clearance? Maybe we do two smaller statured specimens to give the hardscape or underground utilities a better chance of survival?
How about mixing it up a bit and go with an evergreen here and a deciduous conifer there. How about a larger fuller canopy with a smaller understory tree to give it a “foresty” look? The possibilities are endless, really.
Sometimes tree X is just a time bomb whose clock hasn’t run out yet. This is the BEST time to think about replacement as the urgency to make decisions is minimal. Think Leyland cypress or white birch on this one, because one way or another, you will probably outlive them!
It pains me to condemn trees, especially if the tree is in a placement or setting that desperately NEEDS a tree to occupy that space!
I see a lot of trees that are retained, much to the detriment of the owner due to maintenance costs when in reality if removal and replacement were considered a decade ago the replacement would have caught up and passed that tree X!
Some trees cost much more than others to maintain so do your homework!
On the flip side of all this is that tree X is just a great tree and worth more than the sidewalk it is destroying. Believe me when I say I have seen million dollar trees removed because they were damaging two thousand dollars worth of concrete, a darn shame as they were replaced with crappy box store specimens after removal!
The ways you can work around, under and over a tree are many, and who knows, you may find a solution that no one has thought of before!
First and foremost is safety of course, and after that the world is your oyster. As always, plant high and often, and enjoy the brand new spring…