Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Orange County?
- 2 Does Orange County Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
- 3 Who Is Responsible for Fallen Tree Removal in Orange County?
- 4 How Does The Soil Affect Trees In Orange County?
- 5 Does Weather Affect Tree Health In Orange County?
- 6 What If Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Orange County?
- 7 How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Orange County?
What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Orange County?
Many of the tree issues we encounter in Orange County are the same ones that homeowners across the country deal with, such as root rot and old age which weaken trees and can make them more vulnerable to further damage, and harm caused by insects and diseases. In particular, insect pests such as the Goldspotted Oak Borer and the Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer have been causing major tree problems in our region. Huanglongbing (HLB) disease is rapidly becoming a more serious issue in Orange County. Incurable and affecting our beloved citrus trees, it causes poor quality, undersized fruit and easily spreads among trees. Storm damage, especially when the Santa Ana winds blow through, is a common problem, bringing down limbs and sometimes whole trees. Dead limbs and trees are also a fire hazard and worth special attention since recent years have produced such dry, dangerous conditions. In fact, some areas, such as Placentia, require you to be responsible for ensuring trees in the parkway adjacent to your property are adequately watered.
Does Orange County Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
Most localities in our area are great about maintaining landscaping in public areas and will trim or remove problematic trees in public spaces, such as along right-of-ways and sidewalks. Many areas will also trim or prune the parts of trees from your private property that extend over public spaces. In general in Orange County, trees are maintained on a 2 ½ to 3-year cycle with maintenance including trimming, removing dead limbs, removing dead trees, and stump grinding. In addition, property owners may request to have living trees in public spaces, such as the parkways, removed if they are causing damage to private property. Many cities and towns across Orange County provide similar services.
Who Is Responsible for Fallen Tree Removal in Orange County?
In Orange County, the determination of responsibility for trees and any damage they cause generally depends on two factors:
- Where the tree is growing — that is, who owns the property where the trunk is growing
- Whether a tree has been well maintained and is in a healthy condition
According to California Law, property owners are responsible for the trees whose trunks are growing fully on their property, while trees with trunks that cross property lines are the joint responsibility of property owners on whose lands the trunk is growing. For trees growing in public spaces, the local government will generally perform or coordinate any tree removal and foot the bill. All parties, however, are responsible for ensuring trees are well-maintained and in good health. In some areas, such as in San Juan Capistrano, nearly all changes to trees on private property require a tree removal permit, except in emergency situations or for very small trees.
If you’re a homeowner?
California homeowners are usually responsible for trees whose trunks grow on their property. If a tree is properly cared for and in good health, but is brought down by a storm or other natural causes, the owner of property damaged by it falling is generally liable for damages it has caused on their own property. If, however, a tree was clearly in poor shape and that situation was not addressed by the property owner where the tree grew, liability may shift to the tree’s property owner.
If you’re a renter?
If you rent a home, unless the specific details of your rental agreement indicate otherwise, your landlord is generally responsible for maintaining and removing or coordinating the removal of any trees from the property where you live. You should, however, report any damaged, unhealthy, or problematic trees to your landlord, on the property you rent or neighboring properties, so any issues can be addressed while they are as easy to take care of as possible.
If you’re a landlord?
Again, unless you have made specific legal arrangements with tenants about tree maintenance, you, the property owner, are usually responsible for any trees growing there.
If you’re a neighbor?
If a neighbor’s tree is causing problems on your property, California law generally allows you to trim or prune branches and limbs hanging over your property, as long as you aren’t causing the tree irreparable damage. In fact, you can even cut back encroaching roots from a neighbor’s tree, but only if they are specifically causing actual property damage, not just annoying you.
As noted, if your neighbor’s healthy tree is brought down by storms or other natural disasters and lands on your property, it’s normally your responsibility (and your insurance company’s) to deal with it. If your neighbor’s tree has been in poor condition and has not been well-maintained when it falls onto your property, that neighbor (and their insurance company) may be liable for its removal and any damages it has caused.
How Does The Soil Affect Trees In Orange County?
Orange County is lucky enough to have a broad spectrum of soil types, and each kind of soil affects the amount of water and nutrients available to trees, as well as the room a tree has to spread its roots and anchor itself into the ground. Specifically, some of the soil types found in our area include:
- Clay soils around San Juan Capistrano and Costa Mesa
- Clay Loam around Rancho Santa Margarita and around La Habra and Yorba Linda
- Loam around Cypress and Fullerton
- Sand/Loam mixtures around Orange, Garden Grove, and Westminster
- Silty Clay Loam around Santa Ana
- Sandy soil around Seal Beach and Huntington Beach
Soil that has a higher percentage of sand tends to hold less moisture and nutrients, making it harder for trees to grow as well, and they may have a shallower root system. Clay-rich soils may, instead, be so compact and dense that trees also have difficulty reaching the water and nutrients they need. Silt- and loam-based soils are some of the best tree-growing soils, holding plenty of water and nutrients, and allowing adequate space for roots to expand and form a strong, deep network to anchor themselves into the ground.
Does Weather Affect Tree Health In Orange County?
Weather conditions play a huge role in the health of any growing trees and plants. Water, so critical to tree growth, can vary widely depending on weather patterns, though our recent seasons of very dry, drought conditions have had a dangerous effect on tree health in Orange County and across California. Conditions such as a lack of water that put a strain on trees make them more vulnerable to invasion by insect pests, diseases, and storm damage. Dry conditions and dead or dying trees make the perfect conditions for fire hazards, as all of us in California are too well aware. Finally, not only do the Santa Ana winds sometimes make us miserable, they can damage trees and sometimes bring them down.
What If Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Orange County?
Anyone who experienced the wildfires of 2020 is well aware of the dangers posed by dead limbs and trees in the vicinity of power lines. Because of such risks, Southern California Edison (SCE) generally maintains the power transmission right-of-way and removes dead trees along with trimming and other preventive maintenance around 10 to 12 feet from poles and lines. Homeowners who plan on tree work near power lines must contact SCE to ensure that work can be done safely near active lines. If you notice dead or dying trees near power lines around your Orange County property, you are encouraged to report them to SCE to ensure they are dealt with before they cause problems.
How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Orange County?
If you’ve been considering tree removal service here in Orange County, but are concerned about the cost, you may be pleased to know that the average cost here for materials, labor, and average equipment needed to do the job ranges from a low of $200 to a high of $1,000. That’s right in line with the national average of around $600. Of course, trees, their problems, and the many locations in which they grow are so varied, there are numerous factors that affect how much a tree removal job will cost. Here are several of the main factors affecting prices:
1: Permits & Compliance with Regulations
Whether it’s the impressive palms along the Palm Canyon Trail, the variety of impressive trees in the gardens at Rancho Los Alamitos, or the massive Moreton Bay fig tree in Orange, we love our trees. Many of the cities and towns in Orange County have put in place ordinances to protect those trees, including Anaheim, Laguna Woods, and San Juan Capistrano. These regulations protect “significant” trees such as historic, heritage, or unique specimen trees from being removed or improperly maintained by requiring permits for any work that involves them. While this is wonderful for our communities and the trees we all appreciate, it can involve additional costs. In addition to permit fees, costs can also include city examination, replanting, maintenance requirements, and associated fees.
2: Additional Work, Materials, and Equipment
Some tree removal jobs are surprisingly straightforward, requiring only the basic equipment and minimal materials and labor. Other jobs may involve a variety of factors that make tree removal more complicated (and thus more expensive), including larger or more damaged trees, and any additional work you select such as stump grinding, debris removal, cleanup, log splitting, and firewood stacking.
3: Situation and Job Specifics
Finally, the specific details of your tree removal will affect how much it costs. Some of these factors include:
- Size of the tree to be removed
- Location of the tree to be removed
- Accessibility of the tree
- Adjacent structures and property which must be protected from damage, including sheds, garages, pools, houses, and other landscaping
- Whether the tree has already fallen or if it still stands and needs to be cut down (it’s almost always less expensive to remove a fallen tree)