On the ethics of tree removal

We haven’t even closed on the new house yet, and already I’m faced with one of those awkward homeowners’ dilemmas. This one is about trees. The new house has four enormously tall but thin evergreens in the front yard, which completely block all light for the front room of the original house. (I should pause here to explain that the house was originally built in 1918 and substantially expanded—doubled, really—by the current sellers in 1999 to include a great room, two-car garage, and master suite.) The evergreen nearest the driveway is a super-pollinator, too—I’m thinking seriously green sidewalks and vehicles. So we’re thinking about removing one or more of the trees.

This brings up one of those conflicts that await all good homeowners. I’ve always been against tree removal on principal—there are already too many trees being cut down, they provide shade and oxygen, etc. I get it from my dad. When we would drive by a new house where a stand of trees used to be, Dad always used to say in a mock mountain accent, “Let’s chop down all these trees so people can see this hyar thing!” But these trees are a nuisance—and are probably promoting mold by keeping what sunlight there is away from the front of the house. Am I rationalizing? I don’t know. I just wasn’t expecting one of these dilemmas yet.

Don’t even get me started about the nightmares I had last night about the crawlspace under the original house, which I made the mistake of videotaping using the night vision setting on our camcorder so that we could discover what was down there…