Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Los Angeles?
- 2 Does the City of Los Angeles Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
- 3 Who Is Responsible for Fallen Tree Removal in Los Angeles?
- 4 How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Los Angeles?
- 5 Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Los Angeles?
- 6 What If Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Los Angeles?
- 7 How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Los Angeles?
What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Los Angeles?
Los Angeles’s extreme weather conditions are often too harsh for the plant life and, in this case, trees. Prolonged drought, heat waves, heavy winds, etc., leave the trees weak and vulnerable to diseases and pest infestation.
Reports blame the high rate of tree mortality in California on drought and pest infestation. More than 100 million trees have succumbed to these conditions since 2010. It’s a worrisome state of affairs, bearing in mind the vital role trees play in stabilizing the ecosystem.
Los Angeles is among the regions categorized under the severe drought category by the U.S. Drought Monitor. For instance, between October 2020 and April 2021, the county has received only 5.8 inches of rain. This is just 42% of what the area should have received by now, which is a considerable shortfall.
Unhealthy-looking trees attract insects that burrow the trunk and lay eggs. The trees are usually too weak to fight off the infestation, hence the attack. Normally, a healthy tree keeps insects away by releasing resin into the burrows to drown or close them out.
However, with prolonged drought, the trees have become weak and defenseless, thereby increasing the activities of bark beetles, oak borers, lace bugs, aphids, weevils, caterpillars, etc. These are responsible for the death of many drought-stressed trees in Los Angeles, with the oak borer reportedly having killed tens of thousands of oaks. The bark beetle has also caused devastating damage on forest cover as the warm temperatures accelerate their maturation.
Unfortunately, the situation can only improve with a better climate or irrigating trees where possible. Otherwise, you can stop the insects’ activities by ensuring the immediate removal of any dead trees. This helps get rid of the pests before they spread to the healthy trees.
Drought, stem damage from harsh weather, etc., subject trees to stress, making them vulnerable to diseases. For instance, anthracnose is one of the many diseases plaguing trees in Los Angeles. It’s a fungal disease that’s most prominent during the spring. Often, it manifests as irregular dark spots on stems, flowers, leaves, and fruits. The disease also affects young shoots and leaves and spreads quickly under wet conditions. Other diseases such as citrus greening, powdery mildew, foamy bark canker, etc., have also been responsible for the woes of trees in the county.
Dead trees increase the risk of wildfires immensely. Following the prolonged drought situation, California has had its share of catastrophic fires, spreading through the masses of lifeless trees. These fires have been prevalent across the Golden State with Los Angeles’s hillside and desert communities taking a toll.
Recently, fires have ravaged the area, sweeping clean acres of land and rendering scores of people homeless. For instance, last year, the Bobcat Fire that broke out in Angeles National Forest burned over 100,000 acres.
Does the City of Los Angeles Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
Several situations may necessitate tree removal. For instance, trees infested with pests, such as bark beetles may require removal to prevent them from spreading to the healthy lot. Likewise, dead trees are a safety hazard as they promote the spread of wildfire. They are also prone to being blown off easily by heavy winds, which can damage property and harm lives. For these reasons, it’s always recommended to have dead trees removed immediately.
If you have trees that require removal, you can contact the city for assistance if the tree is on public property. You can reach their call center by dialing 3-1-1 to request the service.
Who Is Responsible for Fallen Tree Removal in Los Angeles?
As a homeowner, you’re responsible for maintaining your trees properly to ensure they don’t cause risk to property or life. This includes trimming them regularly, performing general care to keep them healthy and safe, and removing the dead ones.
In case a poorly maintained tree falls and damages property, insurance companies can invalidate the resulting claims. However, if a storm or any other catastrophe strikes a well-maintained tree, you cannot be held responsible for any damages that may occur. This is often termed as the work of nature. Whether the damage occurs to your property or your neighbor’s, the insurers should compensate accordingly.
That said, the responsibility of removing fallen trees in Los Angeles applies as follows:
If You’re a Homeowner
You are responsible for removing any trees that fall on your property. If the tree causes damage to your home, your homeowners’ insurance policy should pay for a part of the removal cost. In case the tree falls on your neighbor’s property and doesn’t cause any damage requiring compensation by their insurer, you can help them remove it.
If You’re a Renter
As a renter, you’re not responsible for the removal of fallen trees on your rented property. The duty rests on the landlord.
If You’re a Landlord
As the landlord, you retain the right of ownership of the property even though it’s contractually under use by someone else. That means you’re responsible for the removal of any fallen trees. If the tree causes damage, your property insurance should cover part of the removal costs.
If You’re a Neighbor
You’re responsible for the removal of any trees that fall on your property, even if they belong to your neighbor. If they cause damage to your home, your homeowners’ cover should compensate part of the clearing costs. Nonetheless, this should only apply if the tree had been appropriately maintained before the disaster happened. If your neighbor neglected the tree, you can pursue them to compensate you for the damage and clearing costs.
How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Los Angeles?
The soil a tree grows in affects its health and strength. As the medium that stores water and nutrients for the trees to feed on, the soil is everything. Besides, it gives the trees a firm base to attach, as their roots spread out and downwards for support and water sourcing.
Los Angeles soils are primarily alluvial and marine. Alluvial soils are the best, with the right texture, porosity, and nutrient retention for optimal plant growth. On the other hand, marine soils are on the opposite side of the scale in terms of suitability. They are highly alkaline and saline, which causes them to bind up nutrients, hindering their absorption by plants. This greatly affects tree health where these soils are prominent. However, you can improve them by adding compost and commercial fertilizers to loosen their structure.
Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Los Angeles?
Weather is a primary cause of tree woes in Los Angeles. Many trees are temperate species that require adequate water during the hot summer seasons. Prolonged dry seasons cause acute stress on trees due to water shortage, weakening the trees immensely.
Sadly, drought-weakened trees are highly susceptible to disease and pest infestation. Pests like shot hole borer thrive in weak trees, putting more than a third of them at the risk of dying.
Again, heat waves cause severe damage to trees, and many fail to survive through extreme temperatures. Wildfires are also common during dry weather, a situation that puts the trees at an even greater threat. Then during winter, cold-related diseases can spread quickly among the weather-stressed species, wreaking more havoc.
However, you can avoid these weather problems through attentive care, disease and pest control, removal of dead trees to avert the spread of wildfires, etc. The municipality is also stepping up its tree management programs by participating and advocating for planting more trees. Not only does this replenish the dying ones, but it contributes to environmental conservation, thereby arresting adverse climate change.
What If Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Los Angeles?
Trees near power lines are a safety hazard and a leading cause of power outages. Both national and state laws have regulations surrounding vegetation near power lines. This is usually called vegetation management.
Electric utility companies are responsible for vegetation management around their power lines. However, it’s usually a shared responsibility between homeowners and the power providers.
Homeowners must allow the utility companies to trim and remove any trees on their property that fall within the power lines. For instance, if there’s a dead tree on your property near a power line, the utility company is obligated by the law to remove it. If you hinder them from clearing it, the liability transfers to you. That means any damages resulting from the tree’s proximity to the power line would be viewed as negligence. In that case, insurers would reject claims, and you would end up paying the damages out of your pocket.
If there are any dead trees near power lines on your property, ensure you contact the respective utility company for removal. For instance, Southern California Edison has hotline numbers for enquiring about vegetation near power lines.
How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Los Angeles?
Two main factors determine tree removal cost: tree height and species. Our experts may also factor in some elements, like the location. However, the first two are the main cost determinants.
Tree removing services often categorize trees into three sizes for costing purposes: short, medium, and tall. While removing a tall tree would require additional machinery, climbing on top of the tree to cut it into pieces and roping the pieces around to take it down, a short tree wouldn’t need much of that. Again, tall trees often have deeper roots than shorter ones, so are more involved. The clearing work is another area where the tree’s size is more significant.
Short trees are below 30 feet high, while medium ones range between 30 and 60 feet tall. Those above 60 feet are categorized separately and cost more to remove.
Each tree species has its characteristics. Some are thick with large branches that call for a lot of work to saw them down and clear the grounds. For instance, removing an oak tree would require more work and time than a palm tree. While the oak is big with massive branches, a palm tree is relatively thin with no troublesome branches to clear. Others, like sycamore, have double trunks, requiring even more time to remove and clear.
Essentially, tree removal involves several activities. These include trunk removal, stump removal, root removal, and clearing debris. Again, our specialists may charge you based on the activities involved, but complete removal is always recommended. On average, you should expect to pay between $200 and $2,000, depending on the size and complexity of the project. But on average, most people spend around $750. Sometimes you might pay tree trunk removal separately, which can be about $100 to $150.