Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A large oak tree has to go.

"There is a large oak tree growing in our yard. ...We want to add a room to our house. IMO the tree has to go. But my wife loves the tree."

This reminds me of a few discussions I had with a customer a long time ago. For the sake of anonymity, I'll call him Pete. Pete, a lawyer, spent his professional career in a large city. He hired me to maintain his retirement property.

Pete had several undesirable trees around his estate, mostly misshapen black cherries (Prunus serotina) and water oaks (Quercus nigra) in various stages of decline. Those not decrepit were growing in the wrong places. But Pete insisted they were "magnificent." "Magnificent weeds," I replied. But he wouldn't allow me to remove them.

Perhaps Pete suffered from what I call the Kilmer Complex (after Joyce Kilmer). These folks think they "shall never see a poem lovely as a tree." Trees are bigger than themselves, and perhaps older, so are impressive even if diseased or growing in inconvenient places. They have no problem, however, destroying smaller undesirables. It's a matter of perspective, and an odd one at that.

What is a weed but an undesirable plant, or a plant growing in an undesirable place? It doesn't matter, really, how great or small. If it can't be transplanted elsewhere, get rid of it.

I wrote all that to say I understand your predicament. Try reasoning gently with her using my argument. If she remains rooted in her opinion, there's not much you can do about it. I guess it depends on whether she wants the additional room more than the tree, or whether you desire her more than the additional room.

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