Make Way for the McMansions Part 3: Big Tree Down

The big - ol - nasty and invasive 'Tree of Heaven'  (Ailanthus altissima) came down this past week. 

Ailanthus altissima
It's been challenging to stay positive about the two homes being built next door. While we did not love this tree..our daughter loved her tree swing. We would have waited a few more years before we cut this tree down, in order for her to enjoy a childhood delight, a bit longer. 

However, the new homes  nextdoor, have dramatically shaded the back half of our quarter acre. And that vegetable garden gets very little direct sunlight. 

We like our homegrown tomatoes. 

So, nearly 3K later. The tree is down. Here are some pics of the event. 

I was amazed at the men who shimmied up the branches and dangled from the tree top. Pros!! This crew did a great job! 

With the canopy gone, the yard brightened. Sunlight!! to manage the downed wood?

There is a lot to move and process. I have a giant bile of bark chips in my driveway. 

Little these days, seems to impress Silver cat.

We might save a piece or two of the main trunk for the girl child. She might have found her 'stage'. 

And onto the next chapter in the yard's evolution. A lot of possiblities for new plants! But, the kids are begging for a trampoline. 


Cheers, Jenni


  1. Do you have a compost bin? Bark chips are a perfect brown for compost. Or you can just spread them for top dressing. Are you going to use the wood for heat in the winter? I can't remember if you have a wood stove. I know lots of people advertise wood from downed trees on craigslist for anyone who wants it for burning.

    1. Hi Alison, We will use the bark chips around my raised garden beds but not as a top dressing. I don't want to take chances..this tree emits a toxin that keeps other plants from growing.....hoping it helps with weed suppression though :)

  2. Plants v trampoline? Plants every time - tell them they would soon become bored of bouncing up and down :-)

  3. did you notice that you now have a much more beautiful view that the tree of hell was hiding? i found that spending the big bucks to remove our silver maple tree was similar. it was just a 70 foot tall ugly weed and once gone a massive native white oak tree appeared in full glory for the full time. You might not want to use the wood chips in your beds ever as " The tree of heaven, Ailanthus altissima, produces allelochemicals in its roots that inhibit the growth of many plants." we chipped our Acer saccharinum very fine and spread it all over the pathways where very few weeds have grown, so it may be used as a natural herbicide.

    1. Like you, I've read that this tree emits toxins that kill other plants from growing around it. I plan to use the chips around my raised beds to keep weeds at bay..but not going to put them on any of my garden beds. And yes...that darn tree was really just a big weed. The view is lovely now :)

  4. WOW! Big change. I'm curious if the pros had any words of advice for all the suckers the tree may send up (trying to live, anyway, anyhow). Hopefully it won't be a problem and I'm sure you know to be on the lookout.

    1. No comments from the pros..but I appreciate the reminder to be on the lookout. We'll seedlings for a long time I suspect.

  5. In the long run, it will serve you well to have done this. But ouch - 3k? Oh my. And ditto on Alison's comment about wood chips. Not bark but the wood chips (such as you have) are great for mulch. We rented a chipper to get rid of some branches and made a huge pile of chips, and where we spread them the soil is wonderful, to my surprise.

  6. It's always best to suck it up and hire the best for a job like that. Fun in the sun ahead for you.


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