Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Fort Myers?
- 2 Does the City of Fort Myers Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
- 3 Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in Fort Myers?
- 4 How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Fort Myers?
- 5 Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Fort Myers?
- 6 What if Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Fort Myers?
- 7 How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Fort Myers?
What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Fort Myers?
Tree care and conservation are essential parts of the city’s parks and beautification program, including a Royal Palm Preservation Program. Additionally, Fort Myers is only one of two cities in Southwest Florida recognized as a Tree City USA member. However, the city still faces issues that can harm and endanger trees. These are the most common tree issues in Fort Myers.
Long known as the lightning capital of the nation, Florida experiences more than its fair share of lightning strikes. Florida’s location and warm water mainly surround the state create the perfect conditions for regular thunderstorms. The related lightning can have a devastating effect on trees.
When lightning hits a tree, the tree may crack, split, catch on fire, or even explode. However, lightning damage to trees isn’t always immediately visible. Deep internal trunk damage or underground damage to the roots may not be visible but cause the tree to decline over time slowly. Often, when damage to a tree is on only one side, it can heal and survive a lightning strike. Unfortunately, when lightning passes entirely through a tree or the roots or trunk are irreparably damaged, the tree will likely die.
Phytophthora is a fungus found in Florida’s soils that thrives and multiplies in excessive moisture. With excessive tropical rains or an overzealous sprinkler system, the fungus can move into a tree’s vascular system and kill the tree. As the tree is dying, you may note trunk bleeding and browning leaves. The fungus affects various tree types, including citrus trees where it often causes brown rot in fruit, foot rot, and root rot.
Canopy lifting is a pruning practice often used on young trees in urban areas to remove low-hanging branches on a tree’s canopy. Excessive canopy lifting leads to trees that never develop a thick enough trunk in relation to the tree canopy. Simply put, the trees are top-heavy. These improperly heavy trees are more susceptible to limb breakage or toppling during a storm. Top-heavy trees are also more likely to topple when the ground becomes saturated from flooding or heavy rain.
The iconic palm trees in Fort Myers and all over Florida are subject to a disease called lethal bronzing, which can dry out and kill palms within a matter of months. A tiny winged insect commonly called the American palm cixiid or treehoppers transmits the condition. The insect injects bacteria into the tree when feeding on the sap from a palm’s leaves. Once inside the tree, the bacteria work quickly into the tree’s base, where it multiplies to clog the tree’s circulatory system and prevent hydration and nutrients from nourishing the tree. As the palm trees starve, the once healthy fronds quickly turn from green to brown. The disease is transmitted to other trees after treehoppers feed on an infected tree then move to a healthy tree.
Chlorosis, a term to describe nutrient deficiency, refers to the yellowing of leaf tissue in an otherwise healthy tree. There are several reasons why trees fail to get enough nutrients, but a common reason in Florida is high water tables. Excess water in the soil causes erosion of healthy soil and fewer nutrients for the trees to absorb, resulting in declining tree health.
Though it isn’t widely known, building structures or paving near trees can cause irreparable damage to the tree. Unfortunately, it’s common for property owners to create paved driveways near trees or have construction work completed in the area. The heavy equipment used in construction compacts the soil near the tree’s roots, restricting root growth and lowering oxygen levels in the ground. Soil compacting can cause trees to deteriorate or even kill the tree’s roots.
When trees are heavily pruned or trimmed back too far, it eliminates the tree canopy that protects the tree from the sun’s rays. Trimming or pruning processes that remove 50% or more of a tree’s canopy may be referred to as hat-racking, shaping, poodle tailing, balling, or topping. Removal of the tree’s canopy exposes vulnerable parts of the tree to sunburn. Since trees receive nutrients from photosynthesis through the leaves, these improper trimming methods can starve the tree as well. These trimming procedures are illegal in Fort Myers and will lead to a hefty fine for property owners if they occur.
Certain insects cause severe damage to the palm trees in Fort Myers. Insects that feed on trees, live beneath the bark, or use the tree leaves or trunks to lay eggs or larvae, can damage trees beyond repair. These are the insects that most commonly infest trees in Fort Myers.
- Spiraling Whitefly: Commonly noted by a white waxy substance or black sooty substance on leaves, whiteflies feed on the sap from tree leaves. These pests are known for attacking citrus trees, plants, ornamental trees, and shade trees. Severe infestation of spiraling whiteflies leads to early tree death.
- Palm Weevil: These pests enter palm trees through wounds caused by pruning or other damage. Attracted to the smell of the sap after the tree is wounded, When larvae hatch, they feed on living tree tissue. This stage lasts for around five months as larvae continue to bore holes and feed on tree tissue. Often, these heavily infest the trees before anyone notices the infection, and the damage is irreparable.
- Royal Palm Bug: While these bugs rarely kill trees, they cause severe deterioration. After hatching, larvae feed on newly opened leaves causing yellow spots and brownish streaks on fronds. As the tree’s health deteriorates, fronds become small, brown, and tattered.
Severe thunderstorms, excessive rains, and hurricanes can damage and destroy trees. High winds can break heavy limbs and even topple trees when the rain heavily saturates the ground. Fallen trees across roads, yards, and buildings are common problems after harsh storms or hurricanes.
Does the City of Fort Myers Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
In Fort Myers, property owners have the right to remove trees that pose a danger to the property. Still, there are specific rules to follow. A certified, licensed arborist must inspect trees to confirm the tree you will remove is a danger. However, the city doesn’t assist in tree removal when the tree is not affecting power lines or city streets.
Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in Fort Myers?
If You’re a Homeowner?
Homeowners are responsible for the removal of trees on private property. However, if the tree’s location is over 100 feet away from your home’s foundation, a permit is required for removal.
If You’re a Renter?
Unless there’s a clause in your rental agreement, a renter isn’t responsible for tree removal. Instead, the responsibility falls to the property owner of the landlord. If a tree endangers your home or falls on the property you’re renting, contact your landlord for assistance.
If You’re a Landlord?
As a landlord, you’re typically a property owner. The responsibility of tree removal falls to the owner of the property.
If You’re a Neighbor?
If your neighbor’s tree infringes on your property or threatens your home, you’re not allowed to access the property and cut down the tree yourself. When your neighbor’s tree causes a problem, begin by discussing the situation with your neighbor. Determine where the property lines meet. You may hire our specialists to trim branches to the property line. However, if a tree puts you or your home in danger, contact the local municipal government to report the problem.
How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Fort Myers?
The soil in Lee County is generally sandy with a high pH and low organic matter. Sandy soil is usually loose, making it hard to retain moisture. Having this type of soil means trees receive fewer nutrients. The high pH can limit the absorption of nutrients even further, requiring a fertilization plan for many types of trees.
Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Fort Myers?
Unfortunately, the weather in Fort Myers can cause a variety of issues for trees. Strong thunderstorms damage tree limbs, tree canopies, and uproot and topple trees. Excessive rains and localized flooding can promote fungus growth, damage roots, and undermine the structural balance of trees.
What if Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Fort Myers?
Lee County Electric Cooperative (LCEC) maintains trees and takes care of tree removal when trees affect primary and secondary lines. However, for trees around drop lines (those that go from the transformer to your home), it’s the property owner’s responsibility. Never attempt to prune or maintain vegetation near electrical wires or remove branches that are touching power lines. Only qualified tree contractors should maintain trees growing near power lines and other electrical utilities.
How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Fort Myers?
Tree removal services in Fort Myers generally cost between $270 and $1,200, with the average being around $735. However, many factors can alter the cost. These are the most common cost factors for tree removal in Fort Myers.
In many situations, tree removal in Fort Myers requires a permit. For instance, the City requires a vegetation removal permit when clearing trees for any developmental reason. Removal of coconut palms and native trees requires a permit as well. Tree removal companies may not include the cost of obtaining permits in the price of tree removal.
Since Fort Myers is heavily affected by severe thunderstorms and hurricanes, emergency tree services are pretty common. However, emergency tree removal often includes dangerous trees and services that extend beyond typical work hours. Emergency services usually have an elevated price.
Poor Tree Condition
One of the most common tree threats in Fort Myers is lightning. Lightning strikes often cause trees that are in fragile condition. Trees in this fragile state are generally harder to remove and may require special equipment. Any tree removal that puts our crew in potential danger will come with a higher cost.