A much-loved part of our natural scenery, trees bring harmony, tranquility, health and environmental well-being to a community. They add beauty to our yards and streets. They provide welcome shade on hot days. They act as a natural windbreak, muffle street sounds and other noise, and provide important habitat for wildlife. They help filter the air, keeping it cleaner and safer to breathe. Trees are also a great investment. A home with trees is consistently worth more than a home with no trees at all.
In Nature, trees thrive "on their own," adapting to the climate where they grow and the elements that shape them. But in our communities, trees can become an awkward obstacle instead of a valuable asset if they're not taken care of. Weather conditions or disease can make them dangerously unstable. Branches and roots may cause extensive damage to homes and buildings. Overgrown foliage can block light.
You might occasionally "eyeball" your tree to see if it's healthy. But especially if you have mature trees on your property, it's worth investing in a professional tree survey to make sure your trees are in good shape. Arbtech, the UK's leading provider of tree surveys and the sponsor of this post, says there are five specific reasons why it's a good idea to have an arborist survey your trees.
1) Keep trees healthy. Most of the plants in our landscape need to be fed, watered, and pruned to stay healthy and beautiful. But we have a tendency to ignore trees because they're so big! An arborist can examine your tree and recommend simple steps you can take to protect the investment you've already made in planting and maintaining the tree. This survey can become a valuable management tool for your property.
2) Catch pests and disease early. Most of us don't notice our trees have a problem until the problem has gotten out of control. Remember the old adage, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
3) Prevent damage to your home. Tree limbs can snap off in a strong wind or storm and fall through your roof or onto your car. I regularly get the limbs pruned back on my big trees to limit the likelihood they will fall on my house in bad weather.
4) Prevent damage to your foundation. We have a tendency to look up when we're examining our trees. But many homes suffer damage from roots that are strong enough to pierce a home's foundation.
5) Determine whether trees should be cut down or whether new trees should be planted. My next-door neighbors recently needed to remove a beautiful old white oak tree from a space between their property and ours. Being the tree hugger that I am, I was reluctant to support the plan. But the arborist we all consulted confirmed that the tree was suffering from an insect infestation that had weakened it so much, it was only a matter of time before the tree fell over on its own accord. If that had happened, the damage to our home and property could have amounted to tens of thousands of dollars. It was a difficult decision, and one we probably would not have made without the guidance of the arborist. On the opposite side of the coin, many homeowners are finding that shady trees can help keep their homes cooler in summer. An arborist can advise them on the best places to plant new trees, given the constraints of their property, to maximize their environmental values.
6) Protect trees during construction projects. New construction or renovations can unintentionally damage tree roots and weaken the entire tree support system. A tree survey can provide guidance on how to safeguard a tree during construction.Tree Protection Plans give landowners useful advice on how to protect the health and condition of their desirable trees.
7) Get official documentation. Tree surveys also provide the documentation needed to meet local authority standards when planning permission is required. The data collated from a survey can form a balanced plan, outlining sensible retention and removal of trees that should prove acceptable to councils.
What should you look for in a tree surveyor or arborist?
* Certification – Is the service you're considering hiring certified by a professional institution to provide tree maintenance services or to remove trees if necessary?
* Experience – Can the tree service demonstrate that it has enough experience to do an excellent job?
* Recommendations – Are recommendations from past clients, including homeowners who have faced challenges similar to yours, readily available and credible?
* Licensed and Insured – Is the service licensed to do business in your community and insured in the event of an accident or unexpected event on your property?
* Reasonable price – Have you gotten budget estimates from several services so that you know the service you choose is reasonably priced?
Having had one tree come crashing through my home during a hurricane, another huge limb smash the porch during a bad wind storm, and watching several seemingly healthy big old oak trees in the neighborhood tip completely over after a heavy rain, I now have an arborist examine my trees every spring. Sometimes I'll end up getting limbs pruned back, other times I'll fertilize the trees to help keep their strength up, and very rarely will a tree have to come down. But if it does, I'd rather take it down than have it come down on my house or car.
Money-saving tip: Sometimes an arborist will negotiate a reduced rate if several homeowners are having their trees surveyed at the same time. When you book an appointment with your arborist or tree surveyor, ask if you can negotiate a discount if your neighbors participate, too.
Arbtech helps homeowners, developers and council authorities confidently plan and manage their properties and gardens. Arbtech can also advise on which trees can be integrated into a development and how this can be best achieved.
Arbtech also carries out impact assessments on the potentially harmful effects a development could have on good quality trees and advises a plan of action. Often, an alternative method of construction can be recommended, which will lessen the negative impact. For more information, contact Arbtech here.
Full Disclosure: Arbtech participates in our Sponsored Post program, helping to underwrite the presentation of eco-friendly lifestyle information on Big Green Purse. Sponsors receive no favored treatment or automatically favorable reviews, but they do allow us to provide quality content to you free of charge. Thanks.