Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Fort Collins?
- 2 Does the City of Fort Collins Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
- 3 Who Is Responsible for Fallen Tree Removal in Fort Collins?
- 4 How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Fort Collins?
- 5 Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Fort Collins?
- 6 What if Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Fort Collins?
- 7 How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Fort Collins?
What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Fort Collins?
Driving around town, you’ll see cottonwood trees, Douglas firs, aspens, junipers, maples, and more. We have a diverse tree population in Northern Colorado, and it’s mostly healthy, too. If you do have an issue with your trees, it’s probably because of one of these three problems:
- Storm damage. Fort Collins gets some extreme weather. While we’re usually spared from the tornados seen on the eastern side of I-25, we still get plenty of wind, rain, and snow. These weather conditions can cause damage to the tree population, especially in trees that were already weak. Lightning strikes and wet, heavy springtime snows cause the most severe damage. Storm damage can range from stripping a few smaller branches off to completely uprooting a mature tree. Storm damage is dangerous both during and after the storm, too. During the storm, stripped branches and falling limbs can damage both people and property. After the storm, the tree may be structurally unsafe and at risk of falling. It may also be extra vulnerable to diseases and pest infestations after taking damage in a storm.
- Pests and disease. Many pests can cause issues for trees in Fort Collins, including bark beetles, spider mites, and aphids. These pests often feed on the delicate inner bark of the tree, which acts as the tree’s circulatory system. By eating it, the pest stops the tree from transporting nutrients to all the branches, and they start to die off. The most common tree disease in Fort Collins is dwarf mistletoe. This parasite will slowly deform a tree and kill it over time. If caught early, there is a chance you can save your trees from pests and disease. However, often the best treatment is to remove the tree and stop the spread of the disease or infestation.
- Age. A cottonwood tree will live around 100 years, while a Douglas fir can live up to 400 years. While these lifespans are impressive, they aren’t forever. That means a problematic tree on your property might have reached the end of its life. It’s tough to know the age of a tree without special equipment, but you can watch for tell-tale signs. Signs of old age in trees include a thicker bark, fewer new leaves each year, and thinning and dying branches at the top of the crown. An older tree may also start to lose limbs more frequently, even in mild storms. If you suspect a tree on your property has reached the end of its life, you should consider having it evaluated by an expert. They can tell you if there are ways you can prolong its life, add stability to the branches, or if it’s time to consider tree removal.
Does the City of Fort Collins Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
The City of Fort Collins’ Forestry Department maintains nearly 55,000 city trees. This number includes any trees that are on private property but are “street trees.” These are trees that sit in the public right of way, usually between the curb and sidewalk in front of your home. The City does routine maintenance on these trees, including pruning and removal if necessary. They do not provide any assistance with removing trees on private property (excluding street trees). For that, you’ll need to hire an arborist to discuss tree removal.
Who Is Responsible for Fallen Tree Removal in Fort Collins?
Fallen trees are a major hassle. They are messy, can cause a lot of property damage, and could even hurt a pet or loved one when they fall. But who is responsible for cleaning up the mess and paying for the damage? The answer depends on who you are and what you know.
If You’re a Homeowner?
Any tree within your property lines is your responsibility to maintain. If that tree falls onto your neighbor’s property and causes damage, you aren’t responsible for it unless you already knew the tree was a risk. For example, if an arborist tells you a tree is likely to fall over, but you don’t have it removed, then you could be liable for the damage done to your neighbor’s property. If you had no reason to believe the tree was a danger, though, then you aren’t liable. Your neighbor will need to file a claim on their homeowners’ insurance.
If You’re a Renter?
Renters occupy about 35% of houses in Fort Collins. If you are one of them, you should know that you aren’t responsible for removing fallen trees on your rented property. That’s the responsibility of your landlord or your property management company. If a tree falls, you should notify your landlord or agent right away so they can arrange for its removal. If the tree does any damage to your personal property, such as your car or bike, then you can file a claim on your renters’ insurance to cover the cost of repairs.
If You’re a Landlord?
Landlords are responsible for the removal of fallen trees on their rental properties. Your tenants can file claims to personal property on their renters’ insurance. If you had prior knowledge that the tree was at risk of falling, though, you might be liable for the damage.
If You’re a Neighbor?
Whether you or your neighbor is responsible for removing a fallen tree will depend on what your neighbor knew about the tree before it fell. If they believed that the tree was healthy and in good condition, they wouldn’t be liable for damages. If they knew the tree was a safety risk, though, and did nothing about it, then you may be able to prove they were negligent in court. Taking it to court is a long and expensive process, though, so you may be better off reaching a compromise with your neighbor instead.
How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Fort Collins?
Fort Collins’ soil is primarily a clay loam. That means it’s a mixture of silt, sand, and clay, with clay dominant in the mix. The clay allows the soil to retain moisture, while the sand in the loam ensures the soil also drains pretty well. Our clay loam is also densely packed with nutrients.
All that makes it very good soil for trees. There are enough nutrients in the ground to support healthy tree growth. The soil’s moisture retention is good for trees looking for water during stretches of dry weather. As long as you maintain a good balance of moisture, you’ll find the clay loam in Fort Collins to be excellent for many tree varieties.
Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Fort Collins?
The weather has a significant impact on tree health in Fort Collins. In the spring and summer, thunderstorms can bring heavy rains, wind, lightning, and hail, all of which can severely damage a tree. Winter and spring snows can also damage the local tree population, especially wet and heavy snows. In extreme cases, storm damage can kill a tree immediately, especially in lightning strikes.
You should inspect your trees after every storm to assess any damage or signs of potential weakness. Annual trimming from an experienced Fort Collins arborist will also help identify weak or dangerous trees.
What if Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Fort Collins?
If you are concerned about a tree near power lines in Fort Collins, you should contact the City’s Utilities Department at 970-221-6700. This department is responsible for all tree trimming around power lines. Once you make a report with their team, they’ll dispatch a trained crew to assess the tree and determine if it requires removal. You should never attempt to trim a tree near power lines yourself.
If a tree has already fallen onto the power lines, you should report it to 911 and stay away from the area.
How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Fort Collins?
The average tree in Fort Collins costs between $500 and $800 to remove. Your cost will vary, though, depending on these three factors:
The Size of the Tree
Larger trees are more expensive to remove. That’s because they’ll require equipment like cranes, ropes, and safety harnesses to bring down. Blue spruce and cottonwood trees, two of the most common trees in Fort Collins, grow up to around 75 feet tall. A young Aspen tree, however, may only be about 20 feet tall. The Aspen tree will be less expensive to remove because it’s shorter and has less of a canopy spread than the other two trees.
The Accessibility of the Tree
Accessibility doesn’t mean whether your tree is in Spring Creek or Rigden Farm. Instead, location means where the tree sits on your property. Trees that are easy to get to, such as in your front yard, are less expensive to remove. Trees that are close to a structure, crowded in with other trees, or near power lines will be more expensive. The removal work will take longer and require more safety equipment to keep both the crew and your property safe.
If the Removal Is an Emergency
There is often a surge in tree removal requests in Fort Collins after a heavy snowstorm. Some of these requests may be emergencies, such as trees that pose an imminent threat to safety or have already fallen onto a home or garage. Emergency removals cost more money. Tree removal crews will need to bring on extra staff and work extra hours to keep up with the surge in demand. Paying the additional fees in an emergency is worth it, though, because leaving the tree could cause more damage later on.