I have recently purchased a property that has a clump of bigleaf maple trees (Acer macrophyllum) in the back yard. The tallest is perhaps 20 feet, but the trunks are all very slender. There are several dozen trees all crammed in together. I don't think there should be so many trees so close together. Though I hate to cut anything down, I'm wondering if it would be better in the long run to thin them so that there are many fewer trees with more room to grow. Is this a good idea? And if it is, how many should I take out? Or perhaps a better question is, how far apart should they be? There is Indian plum and red huckleberry growing underneath the maples. I would like to intrduce some other shade-loving native plants as well.