Tree Hug

Happity Holidays


(apologies for a few noises in the middle of this video—I’m still learning how to live OUT LOUD)

Chase from Missouri asks,

Hi Nick, I have an ethical question that's been plaguing me for some time. I grew up on my parent's 20-acre spread in NE Missouri and my father passed away unexpectedly a couple of years ago. He was quite literally the guy who planted a field of pecan trees on the land about 20 years ago with the knowledge that he would never see them bear more than a bit of fruit but did so because someday, someone (person or animal) would appreciate it, so he was certainly a conservationist. My mother is leaving the family plot to be closer to my brother and I soon, and so we will be selling the land to someone lucky here in the next few months. On the land, there is, what I would guess to be an 150-year old black oak tree that I have always loved. So much so that I had always intended on slabbing it up and making tables/furniture for my brothers and children someday when the old girl passed on as a way to remember the land which helped raise me. Now waiting will not be an option for me. In your opinion, is it ethical to cut down a seemingly healthy tree, particularly one as beautiful as this, if we plan to harvest the wood in such a way that would honor the tree and land, and if so, what kind of penance would be appropriate?

Chase, thanks for your great question, and Jeremy, and therefore Richard Powers, thanks for the assist in answering.

The trees that I have harvested were all either down already or coming down due to construction or sickness. Our friends at Angel City Lumber have been salvaging local trees for years now, so we do everything we can to utilize their products, since they’ve gone to the trouble of saving so many beautiful trees from the landfill.


I’m really enjoying this perpetual conversation with you Muleteers, and I hope you’ll continue to offer your questions in the comments below. Let’s be kind to one another, and that goes for our tree neighbors as well.


The full video is for paid subscribers