We have two weeping willows at the foot of our property that are getting too big for comfort on our small lot and will have to be taken down in the next year or two. We do want trees in this location, however, as they block our exposure to an industrial view and provide significant privacy. The trees are in an east-west orientation with the easterly tree shaded a bit from the morning sun by a nearby house, and from the afternoon sun by the other tree. So one question about managing the replacement process is: which tree first? I'm not a big fan of moonscape and would like to do one tree at a time. Obviously a baby tree being planted on the easterly side is going to be growing in the shade of the westerly tree - but will be in sun once the westerly tree is also removed. I am also a little concerned that leaving either tree standing solo will render it more vulnerable to being toppled by wind (in light of last night's windstorm - whew!). The trees get full sun from the south, but the easterly one is obviously bothered by the shade, always trying to grow OVER the western one, gaining way too much height each year. Then there is the question of what tree to plant in their place. We like the weeping look and have considered a weeping birch instead. Not the little decorative ones that don't seem to exceed 12 feet or so, but big specimens that in some cases match a willow for size. I don't know if it's a species or a cultivar, nor at what age they are likely to achieve that size. I also don't know anything about the nature of birches, except that they are held to be messy, but I think the willows have inured us to that. Can anyone enlighten me as to growth rate and other insights into the nature of these weeping birches? Do they self-seed much? These trees also grow over sewer lines where the willow roots have been very problematic; are birch roots likely to behave the same way? Finally, although we have not had any major branch breakage in the 15 years we've been here, I have heard that willows are brittle and prone to breakage - how do birches compare on this front? Any thoughts on strategy or selection would be much appreciated.