Mature, beautiful trees are a benefit to any landscape. They provide homes for wildlife, add beauty to your home or business, improve the environment, and cool down the area. But if your mature tree shows signs of being unhealthy, you may need to consider whether to try to save it or to let it go. Which is the right move for your tree? Discover a few questions to help you decide.
1. Could Pruning Help?
One of the easiest and most common ways to bring a tree back to a healthier state is through strategic pruning. You might be surprised to know how much the right pruning can help various problems. If the tree appears to have dying leaves or bare limbs, for instance, you may find that this is limited to specific locations of the canopy that you can remove to prevent further damage.
On the other hand, improper pruning may be a cause of the tree’s struggles. Prior pruning activities that removed too much of the canopy at once, so-called tree topping that destroys the canopy, or lion-tailing that increases stress on a tree can all cause trees to suffer. But you can often fix the problem over time with proper pruning and corrections.
2. Are Aggressive Treatments Available?
Did you know that an infected or infested tree can receive treatment to get rid of the cause? Tree and soil injections direct specific compounds straight into the ground around the tree or into its trunk. These may help you rid a tree of dangerous pests like the emerald ash borer, elm leaf beetle, aphids, and bronze birch borer. A professional may also use injections to deliver missing nutrients, fungicides, or even antibiotics.
Tree injections can have a larger effect on disease and pests than other forms of treatment. This is because you inject solutions straight into the vascular system of the tree. Therefore, they can be effective where other options aren’t or where time is a factor, such as against the ash borer.
3. Could Cabling Provide Stability?
A property owner whose tree has large limbs at risk of falling may feel they have no choice but to remove it. However, a professional arborist can help find other ways to make it more secure and allow it to keep standing.
Cabling, for instance, is a method of using strong cables drilled through limbs and made taut. These cables do minimal damage to most limbs but can take the weight off certain areas or train limbs to grow in different directions. However, if you opt to support a tree through cabling, staking, or other physical supports, you will need to regularly recheck the system and make adjustments.
4. How Does It Affect Liability?
The position of the tree and the likelihood of it falling are serious considerations. As the property owner, you could be liable for any damage it causes. Therefore, a tree being where regular activity happens is a particular financial risk. This includes trees that hang over neighbor’s properties, trees on sidewalks or over roads, and trees over your main structures.
While the falling of a tree is a natural occurrence, property owners may be responsible if they failed to act reasonably to prevent the accident. If you are aware that the tree is diseased, dying, infested, or at risk of breaking through things like codominant stems, failure to take appropriate steps could make you negligent in a court of law.
On the other hand, what if the tree isn’t at high risk of falling or is in areas that have little foot traffic or structures? This may not carry such a high liability that it warrants extreme measures.
5. Does It Have Historical Value?
Think about the tree’s story. If it’s been in place a long time, it adds value to the property. This includes financial value but also sentimental or historical value. Is it a feature in historic photos of the property? Is it a neighborhood landmark? Did your grandparents meet under this tree? Did your kids play under it as little ones?
While you must weigh financial and liability issues, you can have an attachment to a wonderful old tree. In this case, don’t feel you must first go straight to cutting it down. Investing in treatments, support structures, or even moving it to a new location may all be worth your time and money.
Only by considering each of these questions thoroughly can you decide whether or not you need to completely remove a tree. The team at Schulhoff Tree & Lawn Care, Inc., is ready to help. We’ll assess the causes of your tree’s problems and the options available to fix them. And if the time is right to let the tree go, we can help with that too. Call today to make an appointment.