When we moved into our home in 1999, there was a large magnolia tree well-established in our front yard. I'm sure it's been there for nearly as long as our subdivision, about 45 years.
Magnolia trees have lovely huge white flowers in the spring. Not quite so lovely, they also drop large spiky seed pods the size & shape of hand grenades which makes walking barefoot in the yard a problem. And although the tree keeps its leaves all year round, they do drop on on occasion; the heavy, leather-like leaves however do not compost well and quickly layer up, blocking sunlight to the ground below and effectively killing huge swathes of the lawn unless they are raked regularly.
Our particular tree also presented a minor problem in that the electrical lines for both our house and our neighbor's run through its branches. We needed to trim back new growth annually, especially before the first snowfalls caused the branches to sag and weigh on the lines.
Despite all of these inconveniences, it was a beautiful tree and we were quite proud to have it on our front lawn. Here it is at its finest about five years ago:
Sadly, however, the tree did not fare well this past winter and died unexpectedly earlier this year. We waited for a while, hoping it was merely dormant but it was increasingly clear that it was now
an un-tree, pining for the fjords
dead. Our tree care service confirmed our worst suspicions.
Today, we had the tree sliced & diced and the bits carted away. It cost $800, about half of what I was initially expecting and the entire operation took only about two hours. I had multiple heart attacks watching falling branches hit the power lines, both ours and the neighbor's, but there were no breaks or outages. I should have guessed that a reputable service would have a good idea how much abuse the lines can take: the smaller branches were within stress limits and the crew took care to ensure the larger limbs didn't touch the lines.
Our front yard now is a bit barren. There is much more light in the picture window of the living room. The stump isn't especially attractive but removing it would take a great deal more effort and another $400; we'll investigate cheaper chemical and/or organic means to dispose of it over time.
Good news: with the tree gone, we can see our neighbors across the street.
Bad news: They're ugly. :-)