Homeowners this spring have decided to cut down everything that is scruffy, misshaped or insightful. Curvy saplings, along with their bigger brothers, are falling to the cruel teeth of the chainsaw.

Homeowners this spring have decided to cut down everything that is scruffy, misshaped or insightful. Curvy saplings, along with their bigger brothers, are falling to the cruel teeth of the chainsaw.


My neighborhood sounds as if it were being strafed by shrieking dive bombers. One neighbor hired a crew of landscapers to come in and slash their way through the knurly growth. When they were finished, trees were strewn on the ground like the great Tunguska Event in Siberia in 1908 that felled 80 million trees.


The crew my neighbor had hired eventually spent more hours limbing and trimming the trees to make removal easier. Unfortunately for the homeowner and for us neighbors, who have to see the piles of trees and brush, the logging truck broke down and isn’t expected back for weeks.


As I write this, my new neighbor across the way is wielding his electric chain saw and leaving enough brush cuttings in his wake to stop a tank. The electric chain saw has revolutionized backyard cutting because it isn’t scarily loud and it isn’t so heavy that you need Arnold-sized forearms to maneuver it.


So there are a lot of new cutters out there, some of which approach their backyards like ice sculptors –– trimming a little here and there until they have just the right balance of leaf and bark. On the other side of the electric saw spectrum are the Paul Bunyans, who can now fell mighty oaks without having to deal with a messy gas-powered saw that shrieks like a banshee and scares the dog.


The homeowners who hired landscape crews to do the cutting must have taken out second mortgages to pay for the work. In my suburban town, it costs about $1,000 to have someone cut and remove a small tree under 40 feet tall. Taller trees cost more than $2,000 to remove. Stump grinding and removal costs about $150 more per tree.


With that menu of services, my backyard trees symbolize either real wealth or a debt so huge it could bankrupt Switzerland.


To make it more irksome, many of the trees that should be removed are on land owned by the town and are within a foot or so of my property. Getting permission to cut them down is harder than getting absolution from the World Court at the Peace Palace at The Hague, Netherlands.


So here I sit in my little foldable camp chair in my backyard, admiring the relentless advance of my sequoia-like pines, oaks and maples and think: Great, in a few weeks we will be in hurricane season. Hand me my electric chainsaw.


Peter Costa is a columnist for GateHouse Media. His latest collection of humor columns, “Outrageous CostaLiving,” is available at amazon.com