Diagnosing the Problem and Things to Consider

Since many tree problems are easily identified, experts advise regularly examining your trees and looking for potential problems, such as the ones mentioned above. For a consulting fee, trained arborists can help spot potential problems and give advice.

Tree topping can kill. Although tree topping, or cutting off the top of the tree, is a common practice, tree experts do not recommend it. Instead, tree experts recommend crown reduction. Crown reduction involves removing specific branches at or near the treetop. Whereas tree topping can easily kill the tree, crown reduction is far less damaging. Experts recommend never removing more than a quarter of a tree’s branches at one time.

Climbing spikes damage. Climbing spikes, devices strapped to a tree climber’s feet, allow the climber to support his or her weight while climbing. The climber digs the spikes into the tree bark and trunk. Because spikes damage the tree bark, climbing spikes should never be used on any tree you are trying to save. Climbing spikes may be used on a dead or dying tree that is being cut down.

Difficulty drives removal cost. Experts often remove even difficult trees with little damage to other trees, plants, landscaping, and lawns. Doing so can be a difficult and expensive task. Companies offering to remove a tree by cutting into the base and allowing it to fall freely are not offering protection for other areas of the yard. When assessing quotes, make sure to compare apples to apples.

Landscaping can kill a tree. According to the experts, trees breathe through their roots. Adding even a mere six inches of soil on top of a tree’s root system can suffocate it.

Pay only when the job is done. Some homeowners who pay for tree services before the work and cleanup are complete find that cleanup promises are quickly forgotten. Withholding payment until cleanup is complete gives the tree service a financial incentive to finish the job properly.

Liability is significant. According to industry sources, if you feel that a neighbor’s tree could potentially cause damage to your house or property, you should consider requesting via certified letter that the tree be removed. Such a letter may help your case or claim if the tree later falls and inflicts such damage.

Permits may be required. Many city and county governments regulate tree removal and require inspections and permits. Additionally, in some subdivisions, the homeowners’ association must also approve tree removals. Although getting the proper permits and approvals is technically the responsibility of the homeowner, many high-quality tree services will remind you to get them and, in some cases, even assist in the process of procuring them.