I realize they are considered 'trash' trees, but the large Box Elder in my side yard is the only shade on my ( un-airconditioned ) house. It's perhaps 24" diameter, perhaps 50 ft tall, unknown age. It has a split in the trunk, with soft wood in the crease, which I guess is typical. We normally get several episodes of 40 mph winds per year, summer and/or winter, and I'm obviously concerned about it coming down - it's about 25 ft from the house. Would a significant trimming, cutting back all the significant limbs to perhaps 10 ft. from the trunk, get enough weight off the tree to allow me to keep it a few more years ? Experience shows the tree would bush out again very rapidly, and I'm wondering if I could end up with a less-risky tree that can stay for a while yet. Other than the trunk split, it seems extremely healthy - grows at an unbelievable rate. My neighbor just removed a couple of huge old Walnuts, and I already miss the shade and privacy from them, and hate to lose all my remaining shade and privacy if I can avoid it. Any advice appreciated. My youngest is 6, and plays in his treehouse and on his swings constantly, and as you can tell, I'd like to forestall the inevitable for a few years if I can.