69 CommentsDitzy Ditties, Humour, Life

There’s a dead maple tree right in the middle of our otherwise lovely backyard.
Not being arborists, we didn’t heed the signs and now it’s too late.


dead tree in the middle of the yard

It’s such a sad sight and no amount of hanging plants can make it look cheerier.
That tree has to go! I wrote a little “Ditzy Ditty” about it, to cheer myself up:


Sung to the tune of
“Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road”
©Louden Wainwright III

Here’s the original to give you the melody:

♫ Sing it with me♫


Standing so tall for many years
The nicest one among its peers
The handsomest one of all by far
The tree just died and there you are

You got your dead tree in the middle of the yard
Dead tree in the middle of the yard
Dead tree in the middle of the yard
Looking so sad and naked


We should have paid attention more
And called for help the year before
But on the other hand you see
It would have died eventually

You got your dead tree in the middle of the yard
Dead tree in the middle of the yard
Dead tree in the middle of the yard
Looking so sad and naked


dead tree with landscaping

Yeah we got our dead tree and our landscaping too
We’re thinking here about what to do
Can we leave the trunk at least for awhile
And keep the plants that make me smile?

You got your dead tree in the middle
Dead tree in the middle of the yard
Dead tree in the middle of the yard
Looking so sad and naked
C’mon look


You got it, it’s dead, it’s in the middle
Dead tree in the middle
Dead tree in the middle of the yard
Looking so sad and naked
All over the yard
Brown as mud


Oh, we got troubles
It’s dead, it’s in the middle
And it’s looking so sad, sad and lonely


©D.D.B. 2014, 2015, 2016 (except as noted)

Have you ever had to deal with the removal of a dead tree? Do you have any advice? We would prefer to leave the landscaping as is for the moment, using the tree trunk as an ersatz plant stand, but sawing off the dead branches.

Summer rerun series

Originally published July 16, 2014

Update: June 29, 2016:
That’s exactly what we did!
(The Virginia Creeper ivy growing in was an added bonus.)
Dead Tree in the Middle of the Yard

Looking forward to your comments!


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Debbie D.
Canine Innkeeper in suburban Toronto, Canada, known as "The Doglady". Writer/website owner, photographer, animal lover, music fanatic, inveterate traveller. History, literature and cinema buff. Eternal "hippie/rockchick". Binational, German/Canadian and multilingual. Looking for the next adventure!
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  1. It’s really sad to lose a tree. I too have had a dead tree.
    I believe that the process of trimming trees should be done with certain guidelines to assure the secure cutting of the trees’ branches. Overall, executing the trimming job at the right place and at the right time using will aid to foster the growth of the trees while shielding them against diseases.

  2. Your garden is so beautifully decorated and so clean. It hurts when the plants die and in your case, it’s a big tree. Loved the verses. Never heard this song before though. I want to grow a Cherry Blossom tree in my garden 🙂

  3. You know what, Debbie, you’ve posted about this tree before and the visual I get in my head when I think of you is this tree and you standing tall with dogs on leash. So sad it has to go. Takes so long for a tree to grow, spread and become part of our lives. This morning as I walked back from the gym, I felt sad to see a lovely old bungalow being demolished. Months to build, years to become a home filled with memories and just two days to turn it into an empty plot. Life, I tell ya! Okay now am going back to writing my 26 blogfest post! Hugs!

  4. I have had a dead tree. I believe the ants in my yard ate on it for so many years that it finally toppled over. It was sad for me because I planted the tree myself and watched it grow over the years. The stump is still there. I didn’t have the heart to pull it up.
    Hope you find a good solution for your dead tree.
    Shalom aleichem,

    1. Hi, Pat; It’s sad to lose a tree. We especially miss the shade and privacy it provided. For now, we’ll enjoy the ivy-covered trunk and continue to use it as a plant hanger. Eventually, we will probably remove it and plant another tree. Thanks for dropping in! 🙂

  5. That looks cools now–like a plant creature. We have a small dead ash in the front yard that will be chopped, eventually. We knew it was coming as well with all the fungus on the leaves. Oh well.

    1. Yes, it does almost look alive, doesn’t it? 😀 Ash trees are dying everywhere, due to the Emerald Ash Borer infestation. Sorry you lost yours, too. The subject tree here was a maple. I miss the shade and privacy it provided. Thanks for dropping in! 🙂

  6. Shame about the tree but loved the poem.
    I’m someone who cannot keep plants alive…so I reckon if that tree was in my backyard. it would have seen its end long before!

    1. Yes, we were sorry to lose the tree, but I’m glad you enjoyed the song parody. 🙂 I have a similar “brown thumb” problem, but hopefully, that’s not what caused the tree’s demise. Thanks for dropping in.

  7. What a pity about cutting down the tree. I’ve recently had an incident in our building where there was a lot of wrangling going on over the wanton hacking down of branches of a Champa tree

    1. We were so sad when that tree died! It provided a lot of shade and privacy from the apartment building behind us. I hope your tree survives the hacking. Thanks for dropping in! 🙂

  8. Hi, Debbie the Doglady!

    This was enjoyable. I never heard the dead skunk song before and I got a kick out of it. I let it play while I followed your new set of lyrics. They synced-up perfectly and I was smiling all the way through, even though a dead tree is no laughing matter. I’m sorry such a handsome tree on your property got sick and died on you, but the idea you came up with is a great one. You turned it into a trellis, hanging baskets on branches and allowing vines to creep up and cover the trunk. It’s a very pretty display, Debbie.

    I hope you are having a great week, dear friend Debbie!

    1. Hi, Shady; I’m surprised you haven’t heard Louden Wainwright’s song before. It was so popular when it came out in 1972. 😀 A perfect fit for my “Ditzy Ditty”, yes? The wild vines grew in naturally and I’m glad they are covering the old stump. It was sad to lose the shade and privacy that tree provided (There’s an apartment building behind us.) We’ll probably plant another one, eventually.

  9. First of all, may I say that is a song that I never thought I’d hear of parodied. I thought there was no need, lol! We had a mountain ash like that years ago, Sad moment, I knew it from a seedling. In a yard full of maples, oaks, and hickories, I think it died of loneliness.

    1. It was the perfect song for this saga, yes? 😀 Losing a tree, especially a mature one is always sad. Many ash trees here are dying due to an infestation of Emerald Ash Borer beetles. The subject for this was a maple tree and it apparently got suffocated by its own roots. 🙁

  10. So creative. We have a tree which need to be pruned – it’s going to interfere soon with the power line in front of our house. But, recently, a neighbor pointed out it is also rotting. So, we are going to have to call in a specialist. We’ll be sad to see it go; the second of our trees having to go this year. And I haven’t planned a song yet. We have also been wondering what to do with the stump.

    1. Thanks, Alana. 🙂 There’s been a rash of dead trees in our area the last couple of years. The ash trees (we lost one of those, too) are dying due to that horrible Emerald Ash Borer infestation. This one, a maple, was apparently strangled by its own roots. What a thing! 😮 I’m sorry you’ll be losing another tree as well.

  11. There was once a dead tree in a yard.
    Cutting it down was so very hard,
    But Debbie dug deeper,
    Planted a Virginia Creeper
    Now ain’t she a gardener card!

    1. A poem for a poem! That’s clever, Angelika. 🙂 When it comes to gardening, though, my thumbs are brown. The creeper grew in wild, all by itself, much to our delight!

  12. That’s such an apt song. And I feel sad for the tree. Those creepers it using the trunk could be good. Show us pics when you do.

  13. A while back we had a small palm transplanted from our front to back yard because it had gotten too big and was blocking our walk to our front porch. I guess it was too much of a shock and now it appears the palm has died. Or maybe it’s something to do with the drought. We’ll just leave it for now until I know for sure it’s actually dead.

    I hate to see the death of a tree. I’m a tree fan.

    Arlee Bird

  14. Loved your clever song! Contrary to your situation, I have a tree I have tried to put out of (my) misery countless times! Stubborn thing just keeps growing back. In between resurrections I have installed birdbaths, small enchanted gardens and such on it’s trunk, creating a much more pleasant visage then the tree, in all it’s drab glory, is capable of 🙂
    I bet birds would dot your tree delightfully with the addition of a couple of colorful hanging gazing balls and a birdbath below…removing the tree completely might even compel it to grow back – stronger.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed my “ditzy ditty”. 🙂 Those are always fun to write. I wish there was a possibility of the tree growing back, but it’s as dead as the proverbial doornail. Apparently, it was strangled by its own roots; at least, that’s what the tree surgeon surmised. I was sorry to lose it because it blocked out the apartment building behind us. 🙁 One of these days (years), we will probably dig it up and plant something else there. Thanks for your suggestions. We do get a lot of birds hanging out. Maybe I could install a bird bath on the top of the trunk.

  15. Wow, love what you did with the ivy covering the dead trunk! Stunning! A cascade of lush green…simply beautiful!
    I’ve lost a few trees and it’s always so sad to say goodbye…to not only the trees but the birds who hang out in the trees. I paid over $800 to have the one cut down!
    In fact today I’m calling for bids to cut down three pine trees that are on the side of my driveway. They’re huge so I know this is going to cost a small fortune but they’re such a nuisance! They drip sap all over my truck and I constantly have to scrape the windshield off. Not to mention all the irritating pine cones and pine needles. I’ll be so glad to get rid of them. Never thought I’d feel that way about trees because I LOVE trees!

    Loved your song ditty! So funny. I remember that skunk song. Haha 🙂

    Happy Hump Day! Enjoy the rest of your week. See you on the 1st for BOTB…

    Michele at Angels Bark

    1. Hi, Michele; Yes, we got lucky with the Virginia Creeper covering the trunk. 🙂 Getting trees cut down costs a fortune here too and I’m sorry you’re faced with such a huge expense. Thanks for dropping in. “See” you on Friday!

  16. That tree is so stunning, You mention in the comments that it might have died due to a fungal infection. How long would the soil be contaminated for. I’ve heard of trees and roots dying. However, I just don’t know how long the death is a detriment to the area around the dead tree.

  17. I didn’t realize that having a dead tree in the middle of your yard was a big deal. We have been deciding wither or not to cut down our tree for sometime now. It has been looking rather dry and dead anyway. Because of the way it looks we are most likely going to cut it down.

    1. It’s not a big deal per se, but it is kind of sad, especially when the yard is somewhat small. It really stands out, then. Did you like the song parody? 🙂 Thanks for visiting. Too bad you’re all the way over in Alaska, otherwise we could have hired you to chop it down. Cheers!

  18. I think you should use this dead tree for lighting at night. You can use lead lights around the tree they will give more attraction to your house.

    ~Diana Hardy

    1. Welcome to The Den, Diana. There’s an idea! Thanks. 😀 The plants could be highlighted at night. Have a great week.

  19. Haha love your little ditty! Wish you all the best with your removal of the dead tree…ahh, doesn’t seem like the easiest thing to get rid of!

    1. Glad you enjoyed my Ditzy Ditty 🙂 We’re taking the easier route for now – just removing the dead branches and leaving the trunk. We’ll figure out what else to do next year. The tree was only 20 years old but the roots are big! Thanks for visiting.

  20. This one is tricy for sure. Sometimes one has to let go, no matter what. I have never had to witness a cutting of a tree but it feels sad that smething that had stood the test of time has to leave. Hugs to you, Debbie!

    1. Yes, we are unhappy about this, but, there’s nothing we can do about it. 🙁 The trunk will stay there for now and we’ll see what else to do next year. Thanks for visiting.

  21. Awww!! It looks sad! Esp in Spring/summer when everything is in bloom!
    I liked the song as well.. hearing it for the first time! 🙂

    1. Hi Pixie; Yes, it really looks sad out there. 🙁 The hanging plants do help a little, at least. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed my little ditty.

  22. Hi Debbie! That’s sad but this tree is still complementing the landscape. I think leaving the tree trunk intact is a great idea! Liked the song 🙂

    1. Hi Shilpa; Yes, we were sad about this, but leaving the trunk is the easiest, (and cheapest) solution, for now. Glad you liked my little ditty, as well. 🙂 Thanks for visiting.

  23. Oh that’s a real shame. Soft or hard maple?? I can’t imagine what killed it; those are one of the most dependable in Michigan (hard & soft) and here (soft). It didn’t look that mature; don’t tell me there’s yet another kind of beetle infestation brewing 🙁

    Loved your ditty to buck yourself up and your hanging plants. Leave it for autumn and you can hang scarecrows and witches and goblins 🙂

    1. Hi Sammy; I know, we’re really bummed out about it! 🙁 It was only about 20 years old too. My tree knowledge is limited, so I’m not sure what type of Maple it was, but I think it was Maple Wilt that killed it. At least, that’s what I figured from reading symptoms online. (Click on the link in my post (the signs), if you’re looking for more info on the subject.) Love your Halloween decoration idea! 🙂 Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.

  24. Cute parody. About the only thing I can suggest it cut off some of the dead branches so that they don’t become a danger and since you plan on waiting until next year for this expensive project (and it is expensive), plan on keeping a very close eye on it because it will probably be sooner than later that you’ll have to spend the money to take out the tree.

    1. Hi George; Glad you liked my little ditty. 🙂 Yes, we are planning to remove the dead branches; don’t want them falling on the house behind us. I’m hoping we can leave the rest until next year though, because we’ll also have to change the landscaping. Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.

  25. Hi Debbie,

    We have a dead tree in our yard too. The dogs like to run around it play so we’re leaving it there for now.

    Enjoyed the song too :). Hope you’re having a great week! Are you ready for the weekend?

    1. Hi Corina; We’re going to leave the trunk and continue to use it as a plant hanger for now. 🙂 Removing the whole thing and re-doing the landscaping will be fairly expensive, so we’ll save that project for next year. Always ready for the weekend, but that’s usually a busier time for me. Nice to have hubby home though. Thanks for visiting.

  26. So sorry — that is awful. I hate seeing that happen. We had a dogwood tree that wasn’t dead but had to come down as they carry water and become too heavy. Three men came with their come-alongs and equipment and had it all lined up to fall away from the house. Our son was in his crib sound asleep for his afternoon nap. As the tree started to come down, I watched it shift. These trees are extremely dangerous because of the water weight. It fell within inches of my son’s bedroom (the exact opposite of where it was supposed to) – it was so heavy that it bounced 3 times when it fell, took out the dog house and the shed. The water shot up in the air about 20 feet and the smell was horrendous. It sounded like an earthquake.

    So, I am sure your experience will be a piece of cake, right? Let me know 🙂

    1. We’re pretty unhappy about it too, Carol, but a little humour goes a long way. For now, we’re just going to remove the dead branches and leave the trunk, because we don’t want to re-do the landscaping, etc. That will be next year’s project. It can enjoy a new purpose as a plant hanger.
      What a nasty experience you had with the dogwood tree! 🙁 I didn’t know they could be so troublesome. Guess we won’t be getting any of those. Thanks for dropping by.

  27. Hey Debbie,

    sorry to hear about your tree. It doesn’t look too big. I’ve removed a few trees from my yard and have one sitting there right now that a storm tore in two. I basically cut it down so just the trunk is left. I then dig a big hole round the trunk chopping all the roots as I come to them. The ones that are really troublesome are the ones that go straight down.

    I then rock her back and forth every now and again to loosen things up a bit. Eventually I am able to pull it out. It’s not easy. Actually it’s back breaking work Sometimes it takes me several days. But hey, its free exercise right?

    Love the poem. I have several on Wassupblog and one on YouTube.

    1. Hi Peter; It was about 20 years old and not that big. We do plan on cutting off the dead branches and leaving the trunk in place, for now. We did that with another dead tree many years ago and it eventually just died naturally. Makes a cool plant stand. 😉 Glad you enjoyed the song lyrics. Funnier when you sing them. I’ll check yours out as well. Cheers!

  28. I am sooooooooooo sad for that tree. Poor baby. Will you plant another one there?

    btw, I love that TALK TO ME thingy above! SO COOL…but I do not have a microphone, so I can’t talk to you.

    1. We are sad too, and losing the privacy it provided is a major bummer. 🙁 For now, the dead branches will be removed, but we’re leaving the trunk in place, because we don’t want to deal with re-doing the landscape. That will be next year’s project. 🙂 I would like to plant a row of Cedar trees all along the fence in future, to block out the neighbour’s house.
      Yes, that voice mail thing is pretty cool. If you have a laptop, there should be a mic built in. Thanks for dropping by!

  29. This is a good diddy, Debbie! I’m so sorry for your tree that undoubtedly was proud and full of life once upon a time! I have some tall cylindrical evergreens (sorry, I’m not a tree/bush-ologist) in the backyard and two of them have mysteriously died. I’m baffled and it bums me out because they are a buffer to the neighbors. I don’t understand how after 25 years two of them go kaput and the rest in the line are fine. I’ve been contemplating having someone come check it out. Almost like the two of them were poisoned or something. Anyhoo…this post REALLY hit home today. Thank you 🙂

    1. Hi Mike; This tree was about 20 years old and we’re sad about losing it. 🙁 Also bummed out because we too have lost a good bit of privacy now. Sorry about your evergreens – they sound like Cedar trees and are commonly used as privacy buffers. Hopefully, it’s not some disease that will spread to the others. Getting them checked out might be a good idea. Wish we’d thought to do that earlier, but we just assumed it would be okay, despite the sparser growth last year. Thanks for dropping by! 🙂

  30. I felt like crying when I read those lyrics. We’ve had some trees cut down in our yard and it was so painful. Some of them were chopped off keeping the trunks and these are now sprouting fresh green leaves. Still, we mourn the ones that had to go from the root up.

    That bare tree looks beautiful to me. Hugs Debbie! Hate it when things we love have to go!

    1. Hi Vidya; Yes, it’s a sad situation, so I’m trying to diffuse it with a little humour. 🙂 For now, we will cut away the dead branches and leave the trunk. So expensive to remove the whole thing and re-do the landscaping! I tried to beautify it a little with the hanging plants. Looks a little less naked, at least. Thanks for dropping by.

      1. You have done a good job in beautifying the trunk, Debbie. What came to my thoughts on seeing the tall dead tree, was that the tree wasn’t uprooted (luckily) and did not fall on the house or on some individuals which would have been more tragic. Anyways, the cycle of life has to continue.
        And the poem is absolutely awesome.

  31. So sad. I hate when trees die. I cried when one of my trees died. It was huge and gorgeous and it made me cry to lose it (and it also made me cry because it cost $900 to have it cut down and removed! It was a really HUGE tree!). So I really feel for you, Debbie. But you can plant another one in it’s place and get something that it a fast grower, you’ll be back to a lush tree in your yard within 2 seasons. Great idea on the song! That’s funny. 🙂

    1. Hi Michele; We weren’t at all happy, but I’m trying to deal with it using humour. 🙂 I know how expensive it is to remove trees, as well as re-do landscaping, so for now, we just want to cut off the dead branches and leave the trunk. I believe it is a fungal infection, so planting something else there may be asking for the same fate? We’ll revisit the subject next year. Eventually, I think a row of Cedars along the fence would be a good idea, since we’ve definitely lost some of our privacy now. Glad you enjoyed the song, anyway. Thanks for visiting!

    1. I should have been a lyricist, eh? 😀 The dead branches are depressing to look at, so I want to at least remove those. Plus, they could fall on the house behind and cause some damage. Glad you enjoyed the song! Thanks for dropping by, Chi Chi.

  32. sorry about your tree. We have a dogwood in our front yard that seems to have breathed its last, but I don’t want to have it removed because its the only tree we have there and I hate bare front yards. a new one would take so long to grow. don’t know what to do yet

    1. That’s too bad, Elaine. You could always leave the stump and part of the trunk, using it as a stand. Get a decorative pot and a nice, lush plant to perch on top of it. Just an idea 🙂 Thanks for dropping by.

  33. Hi Debbie,

    Those were lovely lines indeed 🙂

    Yes, we used to have a dead tree in our backyard too but never had the heart to remove it for the good memories associated with it, the time when it flowered and gave us fruits. We also used to climb it as it was at my grandparents place. We just let it be and it died it’s natural death with time.

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week, whatever’s left of it 🙂

    1. That’s sad too, Harleena. We just want to remove the dead branches, for fear they may fall and damage the house behind us. The trunk can stay and die a natural death, I think. Changing the landscaping around the tree would cost a fair bit and we’d rather defer that for some time. Thanks for dropping by and enjoy your week as well.

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