We have a large box elder tree in our new backyard. I have to admit I'm a bit of an arbor-phile so it was a good selling point when we bought the house in December. However, as spring has sprung we have discovered that the tree is nearly half dead. So we've watered it and fertilized it and de-bugged it at no small expense and have had a couple of arborists out to take a look at it. One said it wasn't worth saving and that we should take it out, the other says we can probably baby it along for another 10 years, which in my book is worth it. However, we definitely need to at least prune the dead from the tree. The going price for that job is $600, which is a lot since I am no longer bringing in an income. So this has brought up a subject of no small debate amoung our friends and family: do we hire an arborist to get it done, or do we do the job ourselves? The tree is only 9 feet from the house and hangs over both our fence and our roof, so there is property damage potential. It's about 30-35 feet high and full of dead branches, so there is personal injury potential. Then there's the fact that we are not arborists so we don't completely know what we're doing and the tree really needs the best care to last. But six hundred bucks? That's a lot of moolah! So I'm asking all youse guys out there: what should we do? Cheap and dangerous or expensive and safe?