In our front yard was an old, huge, and beautiful red maple tree approximately 150 years old. The crown was in great shape, the tree was in full bud recently and in full leaf this past summer/fall. However, the trunk near the base had some decay. One side of the tree in upper branches was not in bud, and had dropped a couple of branches. Unfortunately this tree was planted when there was no road in the 1860s, and now it was very close to the road, and our house.
Our town deemed it necessary to remove based on the trunk and dropped branches. They took it down a day ago. I'm still struggling with the loss of our beautiful tree. The base of the trunk, when cut, had a rotted center probably about up to four feet in height. From that point the wood was solid. Any thoughts based on the condition for removal? I know the integrity of the trunk is important for the weight of the branches. The height and spread of the crown was enormous - likely 90-100 feet tall. Thank you for any input!

  • Please share some pictures if you have them
    – JStorage
    Dec 16, 2016 at 23:27
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    Those 4 rotten feet made it 90 or 100 feet of heavy unpredictable dangerous tree that was going to break somewhere in that 4 feet.
    – Ecnerwal
    Dec 16, 2016 at 23:52
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    I called the city this summer on a tree that had "some decay near the base" last year. This year it had bracket fungus up the side. The final straw was when I found I could poke my index finger full depth into decayed trunk, at eye level. The city took a look and it was gone the next day. I loved that tree, but it would've taken out power in a ten square block area when, not if, it fell. Plant a nice tree near the old one's spot, take care of it, and watch it grow. That's nice too. Dec 17, 2016 at 16:19

1 Answer 1


Its removal was definitely warranted, so don't lay awake worrying about it. A tree that size, left to carry on rotting quietly from the bottom up, would one day soon have fallen and been the equivalent of a missile - if it landed on a car or a passer by or a building, the consequences would have been dire.

It's unfortunate, but everything has a finite life span, so maybe you could consider what you'd like to plant instead - every lost plant is an opportunity for new planting, and life goes on. In the end, the old always has to give way to the new, one way or another, it's just the cycle of life I'm afraid. I know how you feel though - a 600 year old Oak at my parent in law's house got uprooted and destroyed in the (incredibly rare for the UK) hurricane we had back in the eighties, and we all missed it enormously.

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