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Summer Woes, 2023 Edition: Goodbye, red oak; hello, full sun

The red oak in the front yard developed some sort of spreading branch rot that, unfortunately, necessitated its removal. This is the red oak tree that lost more than half its canopy in February 2021's Winter Storm Uri, a/k/a Snowpocalypse 2021. Lori recommended we take it out that summer, and replant another tree that fall. She hated its over-pruned lollipop look; she said if it were her yard, it would piss her off every time she looked at it. And the longer we wait to do it, she said, the longer we'll have to wait for a new tree to get going.                   Instead, we moaned and groaned over it for two years. It leafed out normally in spring 2022, and overall looked pretty healthy, despite its unfortunate shape. We had three arborists out to assess it, who all basically said it was our decision whether to try to save it or cut it down and replace it. Since doing nothing is usually the easiest and cheapest thing to do, we decided to give it another year. We had the dead

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