Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are The Most Common Tree Issues In Watsonville?
- 2 Does the City of Watsonville Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
- 3 Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in Watsonville?
- 4 How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Watsonville?
- 5 Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Watsonville?
- 6 What If Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Watsonville?
- 7 How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Watsonville?
What Are The Most Common Tree Issues In Watsonville?
Since Watsonville sits so close to the Pacific Ocean and the base of the Santa Cruz mountains, trees in the city are susceptible to everything Mother Nature has to offer. There is the risk of fire, wind damage, pest infestations, and – in case this isn’t enough – the occasional earthquake.
Does the City of Watsonville Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
Santa Cruz County provides assistance in moving some trees. They will take care of the entire process if certain criteria are met. Trees have to impede traffic or pedestrian safety to be eligible for county removal. This could mean anything from healthy tree branches hanging over power lines to diseased trees that are threatening to fall onto the street or sidewalk.
Here are the standards for the county to get involved. The Highway Patrol or the County Board of Supervisors make the decision for removal.
- Trees that are a traffic hazard due to obstruction of sight lines or of “regulatory traffic control devices” – traffic lights and stop signs.
- Trees that are in the way of a proposed road improvement project.
As you can see, this limits the county pitching in if you have some dead or unbalanced trees on your property. The county will only step in if there’s a civic need.
If the county has to remove a tree on your property, the department that approved the removal will plant a suitable replacement near the site of the old tree. As an example, if you had an old oak tree with a great big trunk that was leaning over the street and the branches were blocking a stoplight, the Highway Patrol would have the tree taken down. They would replace it with a five-gallon oak tree, probably further from the street. If the tree trunk is less than 12″ in diameter, they’ll replace it with a one-gallon tree.
Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in Watsonville?
In California, the responsible party for a fallen tree comes down to this: where does the trunk stand? If it’s completely on one lot, then that owner is liable for the tree. If the tree was originally close to the property line but has grown over to encroach in the neighbor’s yard, it belongs to both and both must agree to any pruning, treating, or removal.
If you’re a homeowner?
Property owners are responsible for ensuring that their trees, including roots and branches, are not at risk of causing any damage. Since trees grow up and out, the root systems can easily reach your neighbor’s yard and the branches can hang over their roof and power lines. Homeowners need to take care of their trees, not only because they are a tangible asset towards property value, but because they are ultimately your responsibility. However, if a storm or earthquake damages your tree and the branches damage someone else’s property, it’s considered an act of God and you’re not liable if the tree has been properly maintained. Our arborists will keep records on treatment that will help tip the damage into that act of God category.
If you’re a renter?
Most leases in California don’t specifically address tree maintenance because it is legally and financially on the landlord. Trees are considered a maintenance issue, so if you are renting and the trees look diseased or dead, let the landlord know. Don’t try to trim the trees yourself – chances are you lack both the knowledge and equipment to do it properly.
If you’re a landlord?
Landlords are responsible for their entire property, not just the house itself. The fact is that untended tree branches are dangerous. They can damage the house, hit utility lines, or hurt a pedestrian if they’re growing low over the driveway or sidewalk. If a tree is unbalanced, it’s growing unevenly and eventually, the structure will not be strong enough to keep it vertical.
If you’re a neighbor?
If your neighbor’s tree is causing problems for you, you are allowed to prune the tree up to the property line. Check with your neighbor before you start the chainsaw, or let our arborists figure out how much to trim. Your rights to trim the tree end when your actions endanger the overall health of the tree, no matter how much of a nuisance it is. One last thing, if you’re thinking of pruning your neighbor’s tree, you may NOT enter their property for the task. It’s a criminal offense with a fine of up to $1000 and six months in jail. You are really better off hiring our professionals to prune any trees that aren’t yours.
How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Watsonville?
The soil here in Watsonville is a loam. This means that it’s a mixture of sand, clay, silt, and organic matter that’s heavier on the clay than other substances. For practical purposes, it retains water and doesn’t drain as well as a sandy soil. Water and wind action exacerbate soil erosion, which weakens the root systems of trees. Erosion is really lot-specific since it’s dependent on the type of soil, the length and grade of the slope, rainfall, and ground cover. In short, a yard with a couple of inches of rain, a flat topography, and a grassy yard is not at the same risk as a hilly lot with rock landscaping, even with the same amount of rain.
Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Watsonville?
California has been in a drought for a number of years. The drier than usual climate, paired with extremely hot temperatures, creates problems for trees in the Watsonville area. Since the soil tends to be more clay-ey, once it dries out it contracts away from the tree roots and weakens the root structure. With watering restrictions in place, moistening the soil enough to keep the roots healthy is a challenge for even the smallest trees. Other factors that impact tree health are earthquakes, which may not kill a tree but cause enough damage to the trunk, branches, and roots that the tree is completely compromised.
What If Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Watsonville?
Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) will take care of dead trees that are near power or utility lines if the branches put the lines in any danger. Their reputation for any kind of responsible vegetation management is not great, so if you have dead trees that fit that description you may be better served to have our arborists remove them. PG&E will more than likely remove any healthy trees in the vicinity, and adding insult to injury, leave a pile of dead wood in your yard.
How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Watsonville?
Trying to guess how much it’s going to cost to remove a tree is like trying to guess how many M&Ms are in a jar – almost impossible. Obviously, taking down a small red alder is going to be less of a sting than having to remove an old live oak. It’s fair to consider the baseline to be around $200, and the top prices can go north of $1500.
Here are some of the factors that contribute to the final cost of tree removal.
Size of the Tree
The primary cost factor is the tree itself. Height and diameter are the first boxes to check – a tree that’s taller than 75 feet is going to have a tremendous diameter and take a larger crew to remove. Although it seems counterintuitive, a healthy tree costs more to remove than one that is diseased or already dead. Why? Because as the branches and the trunk die, the mass of the wood shrinks, so it’s lighter in weight and easier to manage. A healthy tree is still rock solid. We can give you a no-cost estimate for our services.
Level of Service
This brings us to the second set of factors – what level of service do you want? A basic tree removal estimate includes the actual dismembering of the tree, which can mean ropes and chainsaws and our crew climbing up the tree to chop it up into manageable pieces. Then, the pieces have to be hauled away and our arborist has to pay dump fees for the tree. You can put smaller limbs and leaves in your bi-weekly yard waste bin, but the bulk of the tree has to be professionally dumped.
Our arborists offer a limb chipping service, which is great if you need mulch for your yard, and given the current drought, who doesn’t? This adds about $75 per tree to the cost of the project.
The one thing inexperienced homeowners usually forget to ask about is stump or trunk removal. Your original estimate only goes as far as removing the tree, and grinding down the leftover stump is clearly not a part of the service. Stump removal costs are based on the diameter of the tree, and like the removal estimate, should be less if the tree is dead or rotting. Expect to pay between $75-$350 per stump.
If you just want your trees limbed up and pruned back, expect to pay between $50 and $75 per tree. If you’re looking at all that wood and thinking about firewood for the fall and winter, you can have the bigger branches split into logs for about $75.
The further away the tree is from the house, the cheaper it is to take it down. The house and other obstacles add to the difficulty of the job, and therefore the price. A tree with limbs hanging over the neighbors’ garage and your roof is a more complex and man-hour-intense task and our crew will have to use more complex techniques and equipment, as well as take on additional liability for the project.