House decision: to kill or not to kill?

Ignore for a moment the tree falling through the photo.  I couldn’t find a better picture.

This is our house.  Yes, those window-pane-painted garage doors need to go, but that’s a topic for another day.  Today, I want to talk about those trees.  Shrubs.  Whatever.

I like them.  They remind me of really big bonsai trees.  They’ve been there forever.  They’re alive. They don’t grow too fast so they won’t reach those power lines anytime soon.  They provide a shady spot where I can sit with a cold beverage and watch the dogs play.  But okay, they are a little out of control.

My husband does not like them.  When we get out of the cars, we have to fight through branches that are encroaching on the driveway.  He wants to cut them down and replace them.


I grew up in the desert, something that defines my perspective more than I ever realized.  Desert girl rules:

You don’t cut down things that grow, especially those that haven’t required great efforts on your behalf.

If it grows and flowers — and is somewhat pretty — it’s not a weed, it’s a wildflower.

Grass takes great effort (to keep it growing).

Despite directions to plant things in “full sun,” nothing should ever be planted in Full Sun.  Ever.  Poor tomato plants.

Gardens are very difficult (since everything withers and dies).

My husband, however, grew up in East Tennessee, a much different (and more humid) part of the country. Southern man rules:

If it grows, be ready to cut it down.

If you cut it down, it’ll always grow back.

Things that touch your head mean “ticks!” (Well, if that argument suits what you want.)

Grass takes great effort (to keep it mowed).

Gardens are very easy (as long as you keep encroachment to a minimum).


I’ve offered to go along with the “cut them down” plan as long as the replacements are symmetrical and provide shade.  No bushes, no shrubbery, no tall grasses.  Of course, now he’s decided it’s not worth the bother, but he still hates them.

So… what would you do?  Trim them back?  Replace them entirely? Anybody know what they are?


Unrelated (except to the title): last night I killed a spider and a bunch of babies, then I felt bad all night.  I was reading in bed and she climbed over the edge of the mattress.  Yeow!!  As I stepped on her bazillion babies, she tried to run away and I smushed her.  Only once my heart stopped racing did I realized I could have spared her by carrying her outside or merely opening a window.  The babies had to go (sorry, can’t abide forty spiders, you know?) but I could have at least let her go. *sigh*


10 thoughts on “House decision: to kill or not to kill?

    • Yay, another desert girl. Do you find that growing up in the desert makes you different than other people? It sure does for me.

  1. Keep them.
    Those trees look like they were well-kept to have lasted so long and be in such pretty shapes. Some pruning would do them good I’m sure but it would be sad to rip out perfectly healthy and sturdy trees.
    You should know though that when you wrote that post about ripping out your azalea under the window I yelled “Nooooooooooooo”, even if at my own computer. So. I may just be one of those people who is protective of pretty (or what I see as pretty) plants.

    • You know, that’s a great point, and one I will repeat to my husband: someone really cared for those things once (AND, hello, they’re practically original to the house… our neighbors remember when our predecessors planted them).

  2. I am very much like you when it comes to killing creatures (I live in the woods, so I’m over saving trees). Back in early May I wrote an entire blog post about my ridiculous efforts to try to safe a dying bumble bee. I’m pretty sure it still died. But at least I felt good about trying….
    Here’s the link if you’re interested ( – know that you’re not alone in your sadness over killing helpless creatures.

    • Good. Now I don’t feel so stupid for having heart pangs when I think about that poor mama spider running away from my shoe. *sad*

  3. Trim them back! Bushes will not look the same and maybe the yard might look a little barren? They’re pretty trees! What’s a little hair cut now and again. They’re not ivy. And I think they go with the mid-century kind of streamlined (at least more streamlined than a bush) feel that is your home and aesthetic.

    That’s kind of sad about the spider. The running for her life and all.

  4. Trim!

    We used to argue with my grandfather who wanted to cut down anything that made mowing more challenging. I still believe that happy, healthy, beautiful trees shouldn’t be thrown away, and I grew up in tree-friendly Alabama.

  5. As a desert dweller, I am in agreement with your arguments. Leave them, be thankful you aren’t arguing about how to rake the gravel that resides instead of beautiful, green, succulent grass.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s