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Should I cut down an old tree or try to keep gardening as the shade creeps in more and more each yea

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I have 3 huge trees on my small property. Two are Corkscrew Willows (huge but only 17 years old) and the 3rd is a very old and a type of Willow but not sure exactly. The very old tree has major limbs that die each year and so it's growing a lot of lower branches to make up for that....and that is causing even more shade this year.

Anyway, each year I lose more and more sun. Half of my growing area is right now in deep shade. I don't like cutting down trees but I think if I don't, my edible growing area will be quite limited. The Corkscrews keep growing and growing and growing. The 3rd old tree is right in the middle of my yard with the Corkscrews on adjacent sides.

I'm looking for advice. Does anyone have advice on this situation. It's currently causing me a lot of distres, lol. Is cutting down trees a horrible thing to do to Nature and should I figure out how to work around them?

Any advice is much appreciated. Especially anyone who's had this situation and either cut down a tree or has worked with the shade. I've also thought that maybe they could all three be trimmed?

I also thought of having an Arborist come out and evaluate. Does anyone know of a Permaculture Arborist in Southern Oregon?

Thank you so much!!!

Posts: 183
Location: Durham, NC
urban woodworking homestead
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I love trees.  That said I have taken down a couple big ones in my time.  Both cases were trees that were dead or dying and dropping limbs.  I watched as one limb, which seemed smallish to me, fell directly onto my shed, crumpled the roof, and split the shed open.  The reverberations could be felt through the ground. what if it had been a medium limb? shudder.

You're not exactly in that situation but your ability to produce food is being threatened.  I consider that a valid reason to remove a tree, as long as you've thought through the ramifications.

Weeds are going to start sprouting like ... weeds once that sweet sunlight is there.  You need to have an immediate mulching/cover plan or you are going to be waist deep in weeds.

Is the tree a windbreak?  Is it holding a hill together, or preventing erosion?  If so, when you get rid of it you may have wind damage, standing water, or rivulets you weren't expecting.

Can you safely take down the tree?

Do you have a plan for the wood?  I hope this is an easy yes.  Lumber, hugel, firewood, selling it, what have you.  Processing a tree is tough unless you have big equipment.

If you are ok with all that and the only thing stopping you is guilt? For a tree that is blocking sunlight to your garden?  All I can say is I cut down a tree a couple months ago for just that reason.
Posts: 377
Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
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I like trees. A lot. But I recognize that they are living things with a finite lifespan. As well, people thoughtlessly plant them (or allow them to grow) in places where they will inevitably interfere with other endeavours or access points. So, if they need to come down, they come down.

I make up for it by moving a dozen young trees for every one I take out. Many are volunteers that I rescue from utility line corridors, where they will eventually be sprayed or mulched. They go to locations where they will thrive and not interfere with anything. To my mind that balances the accounts.
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