Here's a job I've been putting off for years: thinning my stand of oak trees. In the mid-1990s I ordered seedlings and planted them close together, expecting some of them to die and figuring I could always thin out the poorer ones. Also, if the trees are planted close together, they are discouraged from growing laterally and encouraged to grow straight and tall because they are all competing for the sunlight.
Well, guess what? The years passed in a flash and they all grew straight and tall. Now, I have to make some tough decisions. I'm tying twine around the ones I think I will cut to try to visualize the grove of trees as it will appear when I remove most of them.
You might imagine that I feel pretty guilty marking them this way, especially after nurturing the little guys along for all these years. Nancy and I discuss the project in whispers.
I'll be sure to post "before" and "after" pictures when the tree-cutting project is completed.