Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Tuscaloosa?
- 2 Does the City of Tuscaloosa Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
- 3 Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in Tuscaloosa?
- 4 How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Tuscaloosa?
- 5 Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Tuscaloosa?
- 6 What If Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Tuscaloosa?
- 7 How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Tuscaloosa?
What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Tuscaloosa?
The Asian citrus psyllid (Diaphorina citri Kuwayama) poses a threat to Tuscaloosa’s citrus trees. These non-native insects were first detected in Florida in 1998. By 2008, they had spread to several other states, including Alabama. Asian citrus psyllids destroy citrus trees by feeding on the leaves and stems. These insects are also responsible for spreading citrus greening disease.
The fruit from affected trees is inedible and will appear lopsided, hard, green, and bitter. If you spot an Asian citrus psyllid or suspect that your citrus tree is infested, you should report it via the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Citrus Disease Online Reporting Form. You can also contact the Alabama State Plant Health Director at (662) 270-4412.
Another non-native insect that poses a growing threat to Tuscaloosa’s trees is the Emerald Ash Borer Beetle (Agrilus planipennis). These beetles are native to Asia and were first spotted in the U.S. in Michigan, in 2002. They have since spread westward and southward and were first detected in Alabama in 2017. As their name suggests, Emerald Ash Borers attack all species of ash trees in the U.S. but have been known to infest White Fringetree as well.
In their larvae stage, these beetles burrow “S” shaped tunnels beneath a tree’s bark and eat away at the wood. Adults harm the tree when they leave “D” shaped exit holes in the trunk. Signs that a tree is infested with beetles include increased woodpecker activity and shoots growing from the tree’s trunk. Leaves may also be yellow, wilted, or thinning. If you spot an Emerald Ash Borer beetle or suspect an infestation, you can contact the USDA at 1-866-322-4512 or fill out an online Emerald Ash Borer Reporting Form and contact us for immediate treatment and removal.
Does the City of Tuscaloosa Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
The city plants, maintains and removes trees that are on public property. If you have questions or concerns about the removal of a city-owned tree, you can contact the city by calling 311 within the city limits or 205-248-5311 to reach the city of Tuscaloosa’s non-emergency number.
The city typically does not get involved in tree removal on private property. The exception to this is if a tree is determined to be a public nuisance or safety hazard. An example of this might be if a tree on private property had branches that hung over a sidewalk and were in danger of falling. In those types of situations, the city may have the legal right to trim or remove such a tree at the expense of the owner.
Property owners should be aware of “Article XIX. Landscape And Buffer Requirements” in Tuscaloosa’s municipal ordinances. While this Article is not limited to tree removal issues, it covers numerous tree-related topics such as preservation, maintenance regulations, and a list of approved trees.
Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in Tuscaloosa?
Just under half of all homes in Tuscaloosa are owner-occupied. This is an important statistic because property owners are responsible for removing any fallen trees on their land. But what if a tree’s branches extend over more than one property? How exactly is tree ownership decided?
It’s the placement of the tree’s trunk and not the branches that determines ownership. If the trunk is located on more than one property, it is called a “boundary tree”. All property owners share equal responsibility for the care and maintenance of any boundary trees.
Not every fallen tree removal circumstance is clear cut, but here are general guidelines.
If you’re a homeowner?
If the tree’s trunk grew entirely in your yard, you are responsible for removing the fallen tree. This is true even if the tree landed off of your property, like on the sidewalk or on your neighbor’s patio.
If you have a fallen tree, your first call should be to your homeowner’s insurance. You’ll want to verify any coverage you may have, especially if the tree fell due to severe weather or a natural disaster. If the tree is small and you have a large deductible, you’ll have to decide if it’s worth filing a claim.
If you’re a renter?
Generally speaking, tenants are not responsible for removing fallen trees from the homes that they rent. Even if your lease agreement requires you to do routine lawn care like mowing, tree removal is considered above and beyond those duties. However, if you did something careless or reckless that caused the tree to fall, the property owner may hold you accountable for removal costs.
If you are a renter that is involved in a dispute over a fallen tree, Alabama’s Housing and Urban Development (HUD) may be able to help or provide a referral for legal assistance.
If you’re a landlord?
Assuming that you’re a landlord who also owns the property, you are responsible for fallen tree removal. This rule applies to rental properties as well as owner-occupied homes. But if the tenant damaged the tree and caused it to fall, you may be able to hold them accountable for costs.
If you’re a neighbor?
If the tree’s trunk grew entirely on your neighbor’s property, they are responsible for removing the fallen tree. This is true even if the tree landed in your yard. However, if the tree landed on your home, garage, vehicle, or otherwise destroyed your property, you should call your homeowner’s insurance. They may need to coordinate reimbursement with your neighbor’s insurance.
If the fallen tree was a boundary tree, you and the other property owner must split the cost of removal.
How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Tuscaloosa?
In the 1970s, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) performed a soil survey of Tuscaloosa County. There is a large variation in soil quality throughout the county, ranging from “somewhat excessively drained” to “poorly drained”.
Anytime a new tree is planted, the soil in that specific area should be assessed. Applying mulch and an appropriate watering schedule can help trees in soil that drains excessively. Areas with wet, poorly drained soil may need artificial drainage. This could include a french drain, drain tile, or reshaping of the soil.
Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Tuscaloosa?
The USDA has divided the country into Plant Hardiness Zones. These Zones are categorized by an area’s average minimum winter temperature. The city of Tuscaloosa falls in zone 8a, which has a minimum temperature of 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Most winter nights hover just above freezing and it is extremely rare for Tuscaloosa to ever get that cold. However, any trees planted in the area must be able to withstand an occasional dip to these types of temperatures.
Tuscaloosa is also no stranger to severe weather. In the past, the city has experienced floods, tornadoes, tropical storms, and the effects of hurricanes. In recent years, the weather event that caused the most property damage was a tornado that touched down on April 27, 2011. This EF-4 tornado destroyed 12 percent of the city. These types of severe weather events damage and even uproot trees.
What If Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Tuscaloosa?
Dead trees are at an increased risk for falling branches and can even be knocked down with just the right gust of wind. Dead trees near power lines should be addressed as soon as possible. Tuscaloosa’s power company, Alabama Power, routinely trims and removes any problematic trees in their service area. If you see a dead tree near a power line, you should report it to Alabama Power right away at 1-800-888-2726. If the tree falling is imminent or it is an emergency situation, you can contact the Tuscaloosa Police Department for assistance at 205-349-2121. An officer can be sent out to block off the area. You should always assume that a downed power line is still “live” and stay back.
How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Tuscaloosa?
We receive a lot of inquiries about the cost of tree removal in Tuscaloosa. Without seeing a project in person, it is difficult to give an estimate. However, we can provide you with some ballpark figures.
Most tree removal projects will fall between $153.00 and $1,918.00, with an average of $535.00. There are several factors that will affect the final price.
If It’s an Emergency Situation
We typically perform tree removal services during regular business hours. However, we know that our services are sometimes needed 24/7. A downed power line can’t wait until Monday morning. If we have to come out during the night, or on the weekend or major holiday, you can expect to pay more.
If We Remove the Stumps, Too
Stump removal is typically not included in the price of tree removal. Some homeowners prefer to leave the stumps as-is. However, tree stumps attract pests, are difficult to mow around, and will limit how you can use the space. We usually recommend removing any stumps. If we do grind the stumps, the cost averages around $101.00 per tree and is based on the circumference.
How Difficult (or Easy) The Tree Is to Access
It is difficult for our crew and heavy equipment to squeeze into tight spaces. We also have to take measures to protect any nearby buildings, walkways, and roads. If you live in a high-density neighborhood like Southwood, you may pay more for tree removal.