They get big

On my recent trip to Chicago, to my childhood home, I was in awe of the trees. This happens every time I visit this place, where the trees that grew up with me have become towering giants.

It was too cold on this day (single digits F) to venture out with my camera, so I was limited to what I could see from the windows. But that was enough to impress me.


There were (and still are) three silver maple trees in the yard. The one in back (pictured above) was the main climbing tree when I was a boy, big enough to support our weight, tall enough to present a challenge, yet with branches that were of a size that could be grasped by young hands.

One of the two trees in front could also be climbed...

...but the other never was, its branching structure never allowing us a way up:

Now all three trees are impossible to climb, the lower limbs larger than the trunk was in my youth, with nowhere to place a foot, no branch small enough for even an adult hand to grab.

Perhaps if you use a ladder to get past the bottom you could climb around a bit further up...

...but the city has thinned the branches quite a bit, so it doesn't even look like it would be that much fun.

I'm sure some would argue that trees of this eventual size should never have been planted so close to the house -- all three of them would hit it if they fell in the "right" direction -- but what other choices are there?

The blue spruces (not sure if that's what they are actually) that were used in neighboring yards probably seemed like safe choices. I remember them as being reasonable sizes when I was growing up, not yet as tall as the houses.

Now they could really cause some damage. Very impressive!

They certainly get big, don't they?

Please don't take this post as an indication that I'm against planting large trees in suburban settings. I actually prefer trees that tower over a neighborhood to those "safe" ones of shorter stature, and wouldn't want to live somewhere that didn't have large trees. 


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outlawgardener  – (January 13, 2015 at 9:37 AM)  

When we're younger it seems like trees take forever to grow but as we become older and revisit trees that were much smaller when we were kids, we realize how quickly they grow. It is wonderful to live in an area full of big trees! Brr! It's cold in Chicago!

Mark and Gaz  – (January 13, 2015 at 2:55 PM)  

They certainly do! Large trees in suburban settings are great me thinks, adds maturity and character to the area. One of our friends remembers his dad planting several dwarf conifers when he was a child. Fast forward fifty years later when he came back they weren't dwarves any more....

Hoover Boo  – (January 13, 2015 at 6:50 PM)  

I'm all for huge trees--a few houses away.

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