Some of the legitimate reasons to remove a tree are:
- Competition with another tree that has greater financial, esthetic, or emotional value.
- Competition with a man made structure, whether it be a house, power lines, or sidewalk.
- The tree is dying.
- It has lost the value it was originally planted for.
- The tree is a weedy species.
- It is creating a bad phycological impact on those who live and work around it.
- The tree has become too much of a safety risk.
The last point is the most important: safety is the overriding decider in anything with trees.
Too often I see that the trees that are being fought over are in bad shape and causing problems for the whole neighborhood.
A particular case in mind was a lot with large Siberian elms. These elms were dripping slime from a bacterial infection, had weak limbs that were a risk to the neighborhood kids, and were spreading seeds that were growing in every crack and fence line within a mile radius.
In this case the preservationists won, but I have to wonder if at this point, ten years later, they would be happier with what the property owner wanted to plant as part of the project, or the sick trees they stuck themselves with.