First, let me start by saying, “I love trees.” In fact, I think I may have even been a tree in a different life . So, please don’t be upset and call me names because I had some of our trees cut down. There are many reasons why we decided to do this (I explain why below), and it was definitely one of the best decisions we’ve made for our family. Welcome to our “Michigan Tree Thinning Makeover”…
forest front yard from the street a few months ago before the Fall foliage began to appear. I think you can see the problem we were having 😯 . Our house was disappearing.
Here’s the view from the house. It was actually very beautiful, but many, many problems were going on.
Here’s just a few of the issues we were having with so many trees: mosquitos, big spiders all over the exterior of house, spider webs all over the house and in our garage, increased allergies, dried oak leaves everywhere all year long, poison ivy spreading rapidly, too many plant eating critters, ants, too many twigs, dangerous limbs, risk of trees falling in storms, and we just felt like we were being covered up by trees and our house was being eaten alive (it literally was).
Here’s proof of the dangerous activity in there. Right before we hired the tree dudes, that super large limb fell off of the “Mother tree” in the middle. We actually saved “Mother” by trimming not only her, but all of her children. By “thinning” the trees, we are actually helping the other trees thrive. They will have more sunlight, and more nutrients to grow thicker and healthier.
While we waited for the first frost to arrive which seemed to take forever (TIP: Do not trim Oak trees until after the first frost-research this.), we decided what trees we wanted to save. We tied a ribbon around each one that we wanted to save because there were too many to do it the other way. We did this on our entire property and really took the time to figure this out with careful consideration. We chose the trees we thought had the best chance of thriving after they were set free from their brothers & sisters. There were many that were leaning towards the house and those defintely had to go.
The day finally arrived in early November and let me tell you…it was quite a circus (complete with lumber jack monkeys). My cat and I watched from the front bathroom window and I set up “shop” in the bathroom with my camera and computer. Kind of like Starsky & Hutch, only it was Julie & Sylvia. Sometimes the guys would see me, but so what. I wanted a front row seat and nothing was stopping me from watching. Have you ever watched a lumber jack before? Put it on your bucket list.
It was a bitter sweet 3 days. Yes…this took 3 days. More if you count the landscaping after. We had many trees out back and along the side that needed trimming as well. I seriously felt like I had gotten the best hair cut of my life.
The guys mulched a lot of the large limbs and used that to cover the floor of our front forest. At one point trees were coming down so quickly I didn’t know which window to stay in. I would run upstairs and actually see a tree shadow coming down on my wall. It was really quite a day.
The guys had to move our daughter’s swing set so this tree that was leaning towards the house could come down safely. Unfortunately, our daughter’s beloved swing set could not be saved because it was rotting. Don’t worry though, I have big news coming up this Spring about that. She won’t even miss that old dinky thing.
There was lots of growth in the front that also had to be removed and we paid extra to have them do that. I didn’t get a shot of the front until after the first snowfall, but it looks so much neater and well maintained. So much so, that maybe I will design a small patio down there. We will see come Spring.
Are you ready for the afters…
I can see my house!
I can see the road from my house! Hi Mr. Postman!
Wait a minute…where did this beauty come from?
The best part about the whole process is that we decided to plant beautiful Norway Spruce Christmas trees in several bare areas in our yard. I’ve always adored Christmas trees, so this was really a dream come true for me.
We planted 8 on the side of the house for privacy and our own min-Christmas-tree forest. We also planted 3 out front to add a little charm to the bare areas.
Then we planted 1 out back where a very large dangerous tree once was.
Keep in mind, these pine trees grow about 2 feet per year and get very tall.
I think this is the prettiest post I’ve ever written. I hope you enjoyed the photos.
Wow what a difference This was a great idea, no question, a big job, I love it, Dad in NY
Just beautiful Julie!
The Christmas tress are a genius touch.
I have had some trees taken down and watched their amazing skill and balance from my sofa! These men are very skilled and specialized. I remember saying “Hail Mary’s” for them as they got dangerously high. It is dangerous work.
Hi Julie! Your yard looks so nice! It’s a bittersweet feeling to cut down trees but when you do it for the right reasons, it’s the right thing to do. The beautiful Norway Spruce trees look fabulous and will give lots of shelter to birds year round! Add a feeder and heated water birdbath and you’ll have so many pretty birds to watch and enjoy on snowy days. ; ) We had to cut down our Ash trees due to EAB and although it was sad, we needed our home to be safe. I’ve been thinking about planting a Colorado Blue Spruce but maybe I’ll research the Norway Spruce now. Such a lovely shape! Loved your snowy pics!!
Hi Kelly! Yes research what trees are doing well today. Our tree dudes helped us with that. Great idea with bird feeders!! Haven’t thought of that yet.
I love ‘Christmas Trees’ too! When we moved into our home, there were 3 lined up in our back yard – I remember saying we should put lights on them come Christmas time….They’re now 30 feet tall – at least. No lights – but they’re beautiful to look at and bring lots of cardinals and blue birds to visit. Oh – there’s nothing more beautiful than a red cardinal perched on the edge of a deep green pine tree! Congratulations – enjoy your home!!!
Oh Jill…cardinals are my absolute favorite. I swear I will be sitting out there waiting for one when it warms up!
Looks great! I understand and agree with all the decisions you made. Happy New Year!
Hi Sandy! & Thank you!
I was worried about the trees as I too love them, but the end effect is stunning. . . I’m glad you decided in your home.
Thank you, Jan!
The before and after pictures are stunning aren’t they? My hubby is a 12+ year volunteer for the Cook County Forest Preserve Restoration (in Chicago suburbs), and does this very work (in addition to removing invasives, seed collection etc) so I know what you’re talking about! Homeowners in these forest preserve areas have thanked him and his peers because you now can see what lies beyond those once cluster of trees! Enjoy the true beauty surrounding you now!!
Thank you, Julie! I was just reading about how thinning trees is wonderful for the environment. ???
Hi Julie….my question is…does your thought process ever stop? LOL! I have been reading your blog and I amazed by your activity.Your house is beautiful, your recipes to die for. I always enjoy your landscaping ideas. You really take pride in your house.Think of all the work you have done outside..ie the shutters, garage door, your steps . Your place looks like a Winter Wonderland. I look forward to your ideas..Enjoy your place.?
Hi Lorri! I know it seems like I’m a little cray cray. We were going to sell the house, but decided to update everything instead! Stay tuned. Our master bath is next. Picking out tile now and I’m so worried I will pick the wrong one!
What a difference. I’m ready to have this done to our yard and plant Spruce. Terrific decision.
Beautiful. I love trees, but the after with all the snow is gogeous!
In Texas, I wish for snow every year.
I can send you some, Chris! ?
Fantastic! I can’t wait to see it in the summer as well. It is stunning in the winter. I loved your picture with the kitty checking it all out.
I need Summer BAD!!!!! Lol
Your property looks beautiful with its haircut and new pines! I love looking at our pines after it snows, Mother Nature certainly does the best job at flocking them!!!
We did the same thing to our property twice now, to keep our home and my She Shed safe from tree damage! Although bittersweet, it is necessary for safety. Great job!!
Thank you, Kaycee! It reminds me of frosting.
Your yard looks beautiful! I’m jealous. I want to watch a lumberjack. 🙂
It sure was cool, Kathy! Scary at times.
I didn’t realize just how crowded your yard was with trees. It looks 100% better now that you’ve thinned them out. The existing trees will now have room to grow & get so beautiful now that they have sunlight.
Your pics with the snow are stunning. Let us see your yard through the seasons, please.
Sweet kitty kat picture.
Hi Cookie! We maintained it for a while, but had to let it go the last couple years. Just too much work and poison ivy. Thank you!! ?
Absolutely gorgeous! Must have been hugely expensive.
Thank you, Helen!
Beautiful job!!! Your explanation and walk they the process was really wonderful & enlightening. Your view is now spectacular from street & house. I’m sure your trees are thanking you too!
What a fantastic transformation. Beautiful photos; love your Christmas trees all around; can’t wait to see them Christmas of 2018; I’ll be waiting for more photos. Your house has ‘come outa the forest (hello to Forest cutie). Sylvias silhouette is awesome. I can see why your photos (indoors and out) are in magazines; you are great!!! love everything you do 🙂
Carol, you are so good for my ego ?. Seriously though…those trees made the pics easy. And you know Sylvia…she is so photogenic! I think we will put lights on the trees next year. Can’t wait! Have a great Sunday!
What a difference!! It looks so picturesque now! I can’t wait to see through out this coming year.
Julie, all I can say is….WOW! I’ve always thought your home and grounds were beautiful! All the improvements you’ve made just make it more beautiful! But this project was just perfection! Looks like a Winter Wonderland, so pretty and love the trees (the ones you kept & the Christmas trees). Now that I’m through gushing, I can admit I am so jealous of your home! Always look forward to what you’re going to do next!!!
OMG What a Big difference along with beautiful improvement it made and people can actually see your beautiful home now.
Just like most anything; one has to thin out to make things look better. Be like when I was growing up on the farm; we would burn our fields and pasture ground in order to get new and better growth started again.
Love your beautiful snow pictures. Pretty to look at but sure don’t need that down this way. Texans (most Texans) have hard enough time just driving the way it is. They don’t know how to slow up; always in a hurry to get where they wanting to go.(I’m not a true Texan; (born and raised an Iowan.}
Love them darling Christmas trees. They would be gorgeous with Christmas lights on them and making some homemade bird seed ornaments to hang in the trees; the birds will come flocking in and would love and would appreciate the food. Of course you may also get a squirrel or 2 as well. With that much snow; it makes it hard for our fine feathered friends to find food.
Sylvia would even enjoy watching the birdies. :}
Have an enjoyable weekend and Please; Keep that snow up your way.
Hi Julie, I’ll say. I love trees too but hate mosquitoes and bugs. Very lovely snowy scenery after thinning. I live below you (Indiana) and not many trees here (maybe just my area). Sylvia was so cute in the pic. My Velmo seems no interest for watching snow (unlike his mom, me) and has been hibernating since last month:)
We are hibernating bigtime. In fact I kept the kids home today because we got 4 inches last night. They were so happy. Tell Velmo hello!! Did you see our new kitten? His name is Forest. We named him that after the trees. I need to put him in the post.
OMG Julie, what a transformation. I love it! The trees you decided to leave was a great choice. I so understand the bitter/sweet having to have trees removed/cut down. We, however, are slowly have trees removed because this is NOT cheap. We have three trees that still need trimming, and two that need to be cut down. Your vew is beautiful. I love, by the way, the new Christmas trees you had put in, looks fabulous.
Thank you, Ivory! We are enjoying it very much every day.
Very pretty after pictures Julie. Good choices!
Wow! What an awesome difference! LOVE the Christmas trees you planted instead. Those are the BEST!
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how did you afford it?
Cynthia, It’s a process that completely depends on your budget. Maybe do a little at a time if you can’t do the entire property at once. We’ve been cutting trees down ourselves on this property since we bought it 10 years ago, so we did do a lot on our own in the beginning. Then things just seemed to get out of control and we needed to fit it into our budget. We had several (over 5) estimates and I can tell you that they were all very different. Some were outrageous. Never pay completely until the job is done satisfactorily. So my advice is to do a little on your own if possible, shop around for good prices, and do a little at a time. Another idea that wasn’t an option for us was to find someone that wants the lumber. Maybe they would clear it for the wood.
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