Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Clearlake?
- 2 Does the City of Clearlake Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
- 3 Who Is Responsible for Fallen Tree Removal in Clearlake?
- 4 How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Clearlake?
- 5 Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Clearlake?
- 6 What if Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Clearlake?
- 7 How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Clearlake?
What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Clearlake?
Clearlake is surrounded by oak-madrone forest, and native oaks are popular (and protected by city ordinance). However, there are issues with trees in Clearlake (and Lake County in general) that need to be addressed.
First of all, tree-of-heaven is also a popular tree in the city. Unfortunately, tree-of-heaven is invasive and prone to spreading. It is particularly good at crowding out native plants and can produce toxins that poison other trees. It’s known for being a host to spotted lanternflies, which can affect vineyards, and to pesky invasive stink bugs. We do not recommend planting tree-of-heaven and recommend calling us to remove any that are on your land. In California, tree-of-heaven has escaped into the wild and is abundant in the Sierra foothills. It’s basically a weed. If you have an established tree-of-heaven that you want removed, talk to us so we can help you eradicate this pesky plant.
Lake County has been affected by sudden oak death. This is a tree disease caused by Phytophthora ramorum and primarily affects coast live oak and tanoak. It also affects some garden plants including rhododendrons and camellias, in which case it is called Ramorum blight. It can also affect California black oak, Shreve oak, and canyon live oak, and cause more minor diseases in California bay laurel, Douglas fir, and coast redwood. Sudden oak death appears to be primarily spread by California bay laurel, and oaks are dead-end hosts. The disease causes the development of red-brown to black cankers that seep sap. Laboratory testing is required to confirm the diagnosis. As it progresses, browning of the leaves occurs. Often this visible decline is rapid, hence the name, but research has shown that trees can withstand the pathogen for 2 or more years. The disease makes the oak tree more vulnerable to other infections. Sometimes a tree, especially tanoak, can be infected for a while without showing symptoms.
Other plants only show browning of leaves, and generally survive, but can spread the disease to oaks. Not every infected oak dies, but there’s no treatment. Infected plants should be removed to prevent further spread and the wood should be used only locally.
Does the City of Clearlake Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
First of all, the City of Clearlake has a protection ordinance for certain native oaks, namely blue oak, valley oak, interior live oak, California black oak, canyon live oak, and Oregon white oak. These trees can only be removed if they are sick or diseased or interfering with power lines, or in a few other circumstances. The ordinance covers trees with a greater than 4-inch diameter at breast height. When permission is granted, typically replacement trees are required. However, this isn’t a requirement if the tree is dead or diseased. In the case of sudden oak death affecting live oaks, we generally recommend replacement with a resistant species in the white oak group. It is also possible to arrange for a replacement tree to be planted in a different location, although this is most often an issue during construction.
The City of Clearlake does not assist with removing trees from your property and does not have an urban forestry department due to its small size.
Who Is Responsible for Fallen Tree Removal in Clearlake?
As in most places, a tree is considered the property of the owner of the land in which the trunk grows. Fallen trees on public property are the responsibility of the city, generally meaning the parks department.
If you’re a homeowner?
Your homeowner’s insurance will generally cover the costs of tree removal, although be aware that they may balk at the claim if a tree fell after being diseased for some time. Check your policy.
You are responsible for the maintenance, treatment, and removal of all trees on your property. It’s best for you to get your trees checked regularly by our arborists and to get oaks with trunk cankers checked for sudden oak death.
If you’re a renter?
California law requires that your landlord keeps the unit “habitable.” However, it does not require the landlord to handle other repairs, which would include tree maintenance and removal.
You should check your lease. Typically, in complexes, the landlord is responsible for removing fallen trees on the property, including ones that might have fallen on your patio or balcony. In single-family homes, it may be that your lease makes you responsible for tree maintenance. In any case, if you have a tree that is fallen, dead, or diseased, you should always talk to your landlord. Also, in California, if you agree to make your own repairs, there must be a “real reduction in the rent.”
If you’re a landlord?
Landlords are responsible for keeping a unit habitable but may, as mentioned above, pass on repair costs including tree maintenance to tenants. If you do so, however, you are expected to charge less rent. Thus, you may want to keep responsibility for tree maintenance or, perhaps, pass on tree maintenance to tenants in single-family homes, but keep responsibility for the removal of damaged or diseased trees.
California landlord-tenant law is complicated and you should run your lease terms by a lawyer.
If you’re a neighbor?
If somebody else’s tree falls on your land then, in general, they are responsible for the repairs. Their homeowner’s insurance company will typically cover the costs.
If you have a tree that straddles property lines, common in Clearlake due to the forested nature of its surroundings, it’s best to come to an agreement about maintenance and responsibility for the tree before anything happens. This is particularly important if it is a protected tree.
How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Clearlake?
The area around Clearlake is distinct. With much of the area occupied by the lake itself, which drains into Sacramento. Furthermore, the lake is hemmed in by mountains, and soil types vary by elevation, with wetlands in some of the basements.
The southern part of the county around Mount Konocti has volcanic soils, which are heavy and red. Clearlake itself, however, tends to have well-drained loam-type soils. Because of the variety of soils in the area, including variation in soil depth, it’s best to get your soil tested. Clearlake also has issues with sediment erosion. There is no government soil testing service in Lake County, so you will need to use a commercial lab, of which a number are available. Soil testing is the best way to establish what you might need to do to keep your trees and other plants healthy. It can also help you determine what trees to plant.
Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Clearlake?
Clearlake has a warm, temperate climate with dry summers and cool, moist winters. Generally, winter temperatures don’t drop below 20ºF, although winter storms are fairly common.
The biggest weather concern for your trees in Lake County is drought, with drought conditions common. Local states of emergency happen fairly frequently and water conservation is of importance. Because of this, any trees (and other plants) you choose to plant should be drought-tolerant. Native trees are often the best as they have evolved for these conditions, but droughts seem to worsen over time. Despite this, native oaks remain the best option for new planting.
Winter storms can occasionally cause damage to trees which might require pruning or removal. This is relatively rare, but is definitely an issue to consider. However, your primary concern should be ensuring that your trees can withstand periodic drought without the need for extensive irrigation, which water conservation ordinances may prohibit.
What if Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Clearlake?
If you see a dead tree near power lines, you should report it to PG&E. If you have a smartphone, they have an app that allows you to send a photo of the problem; this app is also used to report potential damage to electrical equipment. However, if you have lost power because of the downed tree, you should call them, as this is considered more of an emergency.
No permission is needed to remove or trim protected trees that are interfering with power lines, and such trees are not required or expected to be replaced. However, if the tree is on your property, you will still be responsible. If you are removing a tree near power lines, make sure to notify PG&E so they can de-energize the lines and ensure that everyone is safe.
How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Clearlake?
It typically costs between $231 and $2,119 to remove a tree in Lake County. A variety of things can affect (and often increase) this cost. We try our best to give an accurate quote when you call us out to remove a tree.
It inevitably costs more to remove a larger tree. Oaks can be a little more challenging to remove as they tend to have very deep roots; in some cases, you may find it easier to leave the stump in place. Larger trees require that we use more workers and heavier equipment.
Stump removal is recommended for trees affected by sudden oak disease and also when removing trees-of-heaven, which can come back from the roots very easily.
A permit is generally required to remove protected native trees in Clearlake, unless the tree is threatening power lines or is hopelessly diseased. You may need to pay for a city arborist to examine the tree to confirm that it is diseased and for lab tests to confirm or eliminate sudden oak death.
All of this can add to the costs, and if we need to get a permit to remove the tree, that will be passed on to you.
A tree that is in an awkward or difficult location may cost more to remove. In Lake County, this often means trees that are on a slope or tucked away amongst rocks. We may need to bring in special equipment and the removal is likely to take longer, costing more in labor.