If you've been following my blog for a while you know I've got a love/hate relationship with spruce trees. I curse the 9 (large, mature Colorado and white spruce) trees on my lot - a couple would be fine, but nine? Nine severely limits the opportunities for a diversity of other plants in terms of space, sun, and availability of water and nutrients in the surrounding soil. Here's my reasoning for having removed a few of them in the past and the results, and part of me would like to get rid of just a few more (really, wouldn't 5 large spruce trees on a regular city lot be plenty?)
Some trees have just plain been planted in an inappropriate spot and should go. But a full-sized, healthy spruce tree that has been allowed to grow without hacking or distortion of its limbs, is a beautiful sight especially at this time of year! I took these pictures on my walk to work this morning. Gorgeous. I live in a neighbourhood where in general, the trees are three times taller than the houses (rather than the other way around in newer neighbourhoods) and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Designers would say, trees should be kept in scale with the house. The trees in my neighbourhood are definitely not in scale with the houses! But they are in scale with the rest of the neighbourhood. In the smaller, new lots that are developed these days, there are few places for large trees like this, and there are plenty of newer, smaller varieties that make much more sense to plant on small lots.
These trees in my older neighbourhood are not only beautiful in winter, they provide shelter and nesting places for plenty of birds each year and they insulate our houses and gardens from the brutal Calgary winds.
So should I campaign my husband to remove just a couple more trees from our yard (there are 2 in the front and 2 in the back I have in mind, the front ones being the most desirable to get rid of)? The designer and gardener in me says 'yes'. The environmentalist says 'no, at least not until it's absolutely necessary'. Since my husband also says 'no (not ever!)', I guess the problem is solved for now... until a few more years from now when the ones planted too close to the house and/or each other get even more ridiculously large...