Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Big Bear Lake?
- 2 Does the City of Big Bear Lake Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
- 3 Who Is Responsible for Fallen Tree Removal in Big Bear Lake?
- 4 How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Big Bear Lake?
- 5 Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Big Bear Lake?
- 6 What If Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Big Bear Lake?
- 7 How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Big Bear Lake?
What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Big Bear Lake?
Big Bear Lake is certainly a gorgeous resort community, but it’s right in the crosshairs for all kinds of weather events–ice, earthquakes, and drought are all likely, sometimes in the same season. This perfect storm of possibilities means that the trees in Big Bear Lake are vulnerable on a number of levels, but routine tree maintenance can alleviate the chances of damage and disease.
California has done a pretty good job of eradicating the Jeffrey pine bark beetles that used to threaten so much of the forests of the Big Bear Lake and Lake Arrowhead areas, but that’s a short-lived victory. The latest pest to invade the San Bernardino Valley is the goldspotted oak borer (GSOB), a beetle that stealthily attacks California black oak trees, coastal live oaks, and canyon live oaks.
Borer beetles do exactly that–they bore into the tree trunk, lay their eggs, and leave it to the larvae. The larvae burrow into the bark, just deep enough to feed and destroy the tree’s ability to absorb nutrients. Once the pupae have feasted on the tree and are adults, they emerge from the tree and move on to live their beetle lives. When they check out, they leave a distinctive D-shaped exit hole, but they’ve already carved feeding trails, called galleries, into the bark, leaving a severely weakened tree.
The recent infestation of GSOB is the second one since 2012 in the San Bernardino National Forest, and the second in the county–the first was in Oak Glen in 2018. This is a pretty big deal for Big Bear Lake because the GSOB is hard to detect and insecticides aren’t really effective against the pest. These are some of the signs of an infected tree.
- Woodpeckers feeding on the bark–they are actually noshing on the larva
- D-shaped exit holes
- White, legless larva that are around 2 centimeters long, or adult beetles with gold or orange spots on them
- Red or black stains on the trunk or larger branches
Where does the GSOB come from? The larger question is, “How do any invasive pests travel thousands of miles?” Not too recently, invasive species like the GSOB and the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) were confined to their native habitats. Modern transportation and commerce are the real culprits. In the San Bernardino Valley, the GSOBs are coming from Arizona in the form of pre-cut and packaged firewood. The larva can live in the trees long enough to withstand the processing and travel time involved until they wind up in your log rack. The good news is that burning the firewood will kill the beetles; the bad news is that the tree’s already dead, and they’ve had the chance to escape the host and lay eggs in your trees.
Big Bear Lake firefighters ask that you not buy firewood anywhere but local sources. It helps the economy and the trees.
Weather also has a big impact on local trees, so keep reading to learn how.
Does the City of Big Bear Lake Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
Big Bear Lake is very proactive in helping homeowners with tree removal. The Bear Valley Electric Service (BVES) has a tree trimming program that focuses on these three main points:
- Public Safety—keeping power line employees safe when they’re working on the lines and climbing trees
- Fire Prevention—pruning back trees that might come in contact with the high-voltage power lines that can start fires
- Reduce Power Outages–keeping trees pruned so that they are clear of power lines
BVES also offers the following free tree services to the residents of Big Bear Lake:
- Trimming and removing branches that encroach on power lines
- Turning power on and off so residents can remove trees in their yards safely, with no worries about touching or even worse, cutting power lines
- Ensuring proper distance between homeowner’s trees and power lines
If you need BVES to give you a hand with tree maintenance, call them at (800) 808-BVES (2837).
Who Is Responsible for Fallen Tree Removal in Big Bear Lake?
California law is quite clear on who’s liable for paying when a tree damages property. It’s the property owner, but because it’s legal language, it’s not that simple.
If the tree trunk is completely inside the property line of the owner, that’s who the tree belongs to even if the roots and branches are growing into and over the neighbor’s property. If the trunk has grown so that it’s covering a portion of the adjacent property, it belongs to both equally (Civ. Code §834).
If you’re a homeowner?
The short version, as outlined above, is that if a tree is on your property, it’s on your nickel. For trees that are jointly owned, both homeowners must agree to remove that tree regardless of who owned it first or who owns more of it. This includes any branches or roots that are likely to cause damage, but if there are any issues down the road, the owner who doesn’t want to do any maintenance is liable. Since there was prior notice that the tree was hazardous, the homeowner’s policy will not cover the damage; it’s totally out of pocket.
If you’re a renter?
There isn’t much language in the standard rental agreement that covers tree maintenance between landlord and tenant, but it’s typically the landlord’s responsibility. They own the property, and ultimately the trees are theirs. Tenants should report any tree hazards to the landlord and the city or BVES if the potential issues involve power lines or public rights of way.
If you’re a landlord?
You can insert a clause or an addendum into the lease that makes the tenant responsible for minor maintenance. An example would be that the tenant should prune branches below a height of six feet. Without any added provisions, all the maintenance falls to the owner or management company. If you are the landlord, it is in your best interest to keep the property well-maintained and tidy as it only increases your property value.
If you’re a neighbor?
If there are tree branches hanging over your property, it’s your neighbor’s obligation to remove them. If your neighbors are unwilling to address the problem or have the tree inspected, you can have our arborists inspect the tree on your property, at your cost, and issue a report that you can share with your neighbor. If the tree does cause damage to your property, the tree owner will have to pay for the damages. In California, you can also remove the offending branches that are hanging over any part of your property regardless of the damage potential.
How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Big Bear Lake?
Although Big Bear Lake sits at an altitude of 7,000 feet, the soil is deep and well-drained and ranges from fine, sandy clay loam to really gravelly loam. Effectively, this means that there’s not much runoff to cause flooding, and the soil retains moisture fairly well. It is hard and packed tight in some areas, so be sure to plant trees that will thrive in your exact spot–in the Valley, soil types can differ in individual yards. It’s a hot and dry climate, so make doubly sure your choices have some drought resistance.
Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Big Bear Lake?
Weather and Mother Nature both have a tremendous impact on the health of trees here. The air is thin and dry, and the mountains contribute to the chill factor of the area. You’ve heard of wind chills. The chill factor is sort of the same thing only based on temperature rather than wind. Chill factor is the number of hours of temps below 45 degrees F between November 1 and mid-February that a given tree needs to grow and thrive. Trees do require a certain number of days at colder temperatures to hibernate and conserve their energy to bud and bloom in the spring. If it’s too warm, the tree is vulnerable to disease and won’t thrive.
The mountains of Southern California are a Petri dish for everything nature can throw at us. Aside from the storms that are common everywhere, here we have mudslides, earthquakes, and wildfires to deal with; sometimes in the same week. In the past few years, three earthquakes have rattled the Big Bear area, ranging from a 3.2 near lake Arrowhead to a 5.1 that shook from Los Angeles, 100 miles west, to San Diego, 140 miles south.
Wildfires in the area have been getting worse with warmer and drier summers, but fire departments across the region have been conducting controlled burns since late April to try to get ahead of the season. By burning already dead and damaged areas of the forests and taking away that dry fuel, they can limit the damage when the real fires hit.
What If Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Big Bear Lake?
BVES is quite conscientious about keeping power lines free from tree hazards. If there are branches that are growing near any lines, they will remove them so the lines are clear and workmen can access any spots without danger to crew or equipment. The results may not be as attractive as you’d like, so you may want to have your trees pruned back to your satisfaction by our professional arborists.
How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Big Bear Lake?
The average cost to remove a tree in Big Bear Lake is just over $1,000, higher than the national average, but the typical cost range is $250 to $2,200. Here are the things our arborists factor in when estimating tree removal costs:
Not only the height, but the diameter is key in this calculation. It is safe to say that the bigger the tree, the more the cost.
If the tree is unencumbered by the driveway, house, or any other immovable object, the time, crew, and equipment costs are less than when a giant oak is wedged between the house and the garage.
Scope of Work
If you want the stump ground down and the tree chipped into mulch, those are extra services that our arborists will need to complete. Both will cost you more.