Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Littleton?
- 2 Does the City of Littleton Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
- 3 Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in Littleton?
- 4 How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Littleton?
- 5 Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Littleton?
- 6 What If Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Littleton?
- 7 How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Littleton?
What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Littleton?
We love our trees in Littleton so much, our city government sponsors the Littleton Spring Tree Giveaway to celebrate Arbor Day each year. This is a wonderful way to encourage the growing of more beneficial trees which add to our quality of life and the beauty of our town. It can also help replace those trees removed because they are considered nuisance trees, including: female cottonwood trees, silver poplars, Siberian elms, Russian olives, tamarisk, and female box elders. Unfortunately, even our most beloved, native trees can have problems, including:
Invasive insects have arrived in Colorado from other parts of the world and attack our susceptible trees. In many cases, they have no predators here and can spread unchecked without treatment or control measures.
- Emerald Ash Borer — Found in the greater Denver area since 2013, the emerald ash borer chews into the bark of ash trees, quickly destroying a tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients through its vascular system. Affected trees can die as soon as a matter of weeks. Luckily, our mountain ash trees seem to be immune to these pests, so not all of our ash trees are in danger.
- Tent Caterpillars — Tent caterpillars feed on the leaves and needles of countless types of trees, defoliating them and forming ugly, unpleasant webby messes in their branches. When they infest a tree, they can occasionally kill it, but more often, weaken it so it is vulnerable to other hazards. Numerous tree species are susceptible, including ash, box elder, Douglas fir, ponderosa pines, aspen, oak, and other hardwoods.
Numerous tree diseases, many of them non-native diseases spread by insects that have invaded our region, can damage, weaken, and even kill many of our common trees. Aspens can be particularly vulnerable as we have such gloriously large stands of them across the Front Range.
- Aspen Leaf Blight — Attacking one of our most symbolic trees, aspen leaf blight, also called ink spot disease, causes leaves to develop blackish spots and, eventually to brown and die back in affected areas. While it is unlikely to kill a tree, the blight can certainly weaken it, making it more vulnerable to infestations by other insects and diseases.
- Cankers — These fungal diseases grow on a tree’s bark and damage its ability to transport needed nutrients and water throughout its internal structure. Aspen cankers are particularly problematic around Littleton, but a variety of tree species can be infected by different kinds of cankers.
- Fire Blight — Apple, crabapple, pear, and other fruit trees are vulnerable to fire blight which can cause trees to have browned or blackened leaves and shriveled fruit. In severe cases, it can cause tree death.
- Mistletoe — We usually associate mistletoe with kisses and Christmas, but it is actually a tree parasite that steals water and nutrients from the trees it affects (many hardwoods including its favorite, oaks), and can kill those trees as it deprives them.
- Root Rot — Spread by insects, root rot is a collective name for different kinds of funguses that destroy a tree’s root system, eventually causing it to weaken so much it topples easily.
Even when free from attacks by insects and diseases, our trees can be stressed, weakened, and damaged by conditions in our environment, too.
- Lack of Water and Nutrients — Our Front Range soil is somewhat lacking in water and nutrients needed to support healthy tree growth. Without fertilizing and occasional watering, tree health can suffer.
- Winter Weather — While most of our native trees are well-prepared for even our most bitter winters, some non-natives may fall victim to extended cold spells. Other trees may have limb or trunk structures that are more susceptible to damage under the weight of heavy snowfall.
Does the City of Littleton Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
The City of Littleton maintains trees in our parks and public spaces, including along our streets. In general, city crews are prompt in attending to any dangerous or fallen trees, but if you see one in need of attention, you can use Littleton’s SeeClickFix It service to report problems such as dead trees. While most of Littleton’s official responsibility is public trees, the City can request tree removal on private property if the trees in question are considered hazardous, nuisances, or may be contributing to spreading disease. According to Littleton’s ordinance, a tree might trigger such a request if it:
- Appears to be dead, dangerous, or likely to fall causing damages or injury
- Extends into the clearance zone for vehicles (up to 14 feet) or pedestrians (up to 10 feet) on streets and sidewalks
- Blocks curbs, gutters, streets, sidewalks, street signs, or signals
- Substantially interferes with the sewer system
- Is infected with diseases that can be spread to other trees or plants
Littleton officials can also come onto your property to inspect trees or logs for signs of diseases such as Dutch elm disease, thousand cankers, black walnut disease, and emerald ash borer.
Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in Littleton?
In general, Colorado homeowners (and their insurance companies) are responsible for removing any healthy trees that fall onto their property, even if a neighbor or the city owns the tree. In some cases, though, if a tree obviously appeared to be unhealthy, had dead limbs, or was completely dead, the tree’s owner is generally liable for its removal and any damages it caused.
If you’re a homeowner?
As mentioned, you are responsible if a storm, lightning strike, or other natural occurrence causes an otherwise healthy tree to fall onto your house or property. Insurance companies normally cover this as an “act of God” occurrence.
If you’re a renter?
If you rent your home, your landlord is usually the one who will have to foot the bill (along with their insurance company) for a tree that falls onto the property you rent, unless your rental agreement specifically states otherwise. Because tenants are almost always on a property more often than the landlord, you can help them by reporting any tree problems you see on the property and neighboring lots to help prevent future damage or injury.
If you’re a landlord?
Landlords are normally responsible for fallen trees along the same lines that homeowners are, and attending to regular tree maintenance on any properties you rent out is just part of being a good, responsible landlord.
If you’re a neighbor?
If your tree falls on your neighbor’s house, they are likely on the hook for its removal unless it was in visibly poor condition. If you’ve failed to take care of a dead or dying tree on your property, and it falls, you are usually responsible, due to your neglect. In fact, if it can be shown you had prior notice of your tree’s poor condition and did nothing, your insurance company may refuse to pay related claims. You will also likely be responsible if you were trying to cut down the tree yourself and caused damage or injury, too.
How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Littleton?
The soil in the Front Range is generally a loam type soil, meaning it has a good amount of silt, sand, and some clay. In particular around Littleton, our soil may have a little extra clay, making it a little denser. While loam is normally a pretty welcoming soil for plants and trees, much of Colorado’s loamy soil tends to be rather poor in key nutrients that encourage good tree growth. This is not to say our trees won’t do well, but they can often benefit from some appropriate fertilizer and supplemental watering for optimal health.
Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Littleton?
When winter’s heavy snows come, many of us plan to hit the slopes. Our trees, however, are stuck in place and must bear the weight of all that snow. Some tree species are more vulnerable to damage from the weight of heavy snow, including birch, poplar, ornamental pears (such as the Bradford pears so common in many streetscapes), junipers, and arborvitae. Non-native trees which are less well suited to our Colorado climate can also be harmed by harsher winter weather and spells of freezing temperatures.
What If Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Littleton?
Xcel Energy responds promptly to any reports of trees that threaten power lines and, of course, regularly inspects trees and trims, and removes trees as needed to protect the integrity of power lines and help prevent outages and the danger of wildfires. If you spot a dead tree near a power line, you should contact Xcel Energy to ensure it is taken care of.
How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Littleton?
Having a tree removed can be a disheartening and sad time, especially if a tree is a beloved part of your home’s landscape. Of course, other times, it can be a relief to have a dangerous or invasive tree removed from your property, freeing you to replace it with an appropriate tree, perhaps one from Xcel Energy’s suggested tree list, or from Littleton’s Spring Tree Program. Regardless of why your tree needs to go, you may be pleased to know, in Littleton, it generally costs around $450 to have a tree removed, with jobs on the low end averaging about $150 and on the high end, about $750. However, the total can be significantly higher based on several factors. Multiple aspects of your tree removal can affect its cost, however, including:
Tree Size and Location
As you’d expect, larger trees usually cost more than smaller trees to remove. Trees with complicated structures, split trunks, and other situations may require more time and effort to remove, adding to your costs, too. When removing trees, we must often work close to homes, garages, outbuildings, swimming pools, other trees, utility lines, landscaping, and other property which must be protected from further damage. The more difficult it is to access your tree, the more expensive it may be to remove.
Additional Equipment and Services
If your tree removal requires specialized equipment, that will generally add to the cost. Homeowners often request additional services such as log splitting, limb chipping, or stump grinding from us, which are usually added-on costs, too.
Labor and Other Expenses
If we require a larger crew to take your tree down, or an unusual number of hours, that must be factored into a tree removal expense. Emergency service or tree removals during extreme weather conditions may also add to your bottom line.