Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Live Oak?
- 2 Does the City of Live Oak Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
- 3 Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in Live Oak?
- 4 How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Live Oak?
- 5 Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Live Oak?
- 6 What if Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Live Oak?
- 7 How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Live Oak?
What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Live Oak?
Given the city’s name, you would expect to find a lot of southern live oaks here. Live oaks are the most commonly planted large shade tree in Florida, although some have been around a while. This nearly evergreen oak adds significant value to a home, protects it from hurricanes, and attracts a variety of birds as well as Spanish moss.
Live oaks, however, need some care. When young, they benefit from regular pruning to help them develop a wind-resistant structure. Another common tree in the area is the sand live oak, which prefers sandy, dry sites and is a relatively small, compact tree that works well as a roadside ornament. There are arguments about whether it is a separate species or a subspecies. Live oaks prefer moist, acid soil but are remarkably tolerant of drought.
Unfortunately, both kinds of live oak are prone to a couple of diseases. Thankfully, oak wilt is not present in Florida, but shoestring root rot does occur. Shoestring root rot is a fungal infection that starts in the tree’s roots and can consume the living sapwood, eventually killing the tree. In some cases, this can result in decay inside the trunk, which may not be noticed until the tree falls, often in the next major storm. Yellowing of foliage or top dieback can indicate infection, and you should have the tree checked by our experts. Shoestring rot fungus tends to colonize stumps; removing stumps can help protect your trees from this pest.
Oaks of all kinds are also prone to basal cankers, which show signs of “bleeding” (sap extrusion) from cracks or fissures in the bark. These cracks are the result of inner bark lesions. Cankers can sometimes girdle and kill a tree, and fungicide treatments are only somewhat helpful. Generally, trees with advanced cankers are not treatable, and if they are showing signs of decline should be removed.
A variety of other native trees are suitable for planting in this part of Florida. Elms are a popular choice, and thankfully Dutch elm disease has not yet been detected in Florida. However, elms are somewhat susceptible to storm damage. As with most places, native trees are usually a better choice. This is particularly the case for maples, as most non-native maples get heat stress if grown this far south. Do not plant Japanese maples, as they will get leaf scorch. Instead, choose the Florida maple or the red maple.
Does the City of Live Oak Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
One word of warning: Live oaks are protected trees within the city limits. This protection means you need official permission to remove a tree, even if it is diseased, and they will send somebody out to look at it. This protection also extends to all trees on commercial properties, which includes apartment buildings. There is a waiver to live oak protection after major storms to allow for emergency removal. State law enables you to remove the tree if our arborists say it’s advisable. You are not required to replace the removed tree (but should consider doing so). The current situation is that the tree has to be a danger to be removed, and you need an expert willing to attest to the fact that it is.
The City does not provide assistance for tree removal, but garbage workers will collect and remove tree limbs if you cut them into five-foot lengths, and one person can lift them. In general, you have to handle any tree removal issues yourself.
Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in Live Oak?
The responsibility for fallen tree removal in Live Oak is on the property owner. The City will only handle trees that are on public land or in parks. Trees belong to the person on whose land the trunk is; if you have a tree on the property line, you may have to coordinate with your neighbor.
If You’re a Homeowner?
As a homeowner, you are responsible for any trees that fall on your property and remove damaged and diseased trees. As already mentioned, you can only remove protected trees if a certified arborist rule that they are a danger to life and property.
Your homeowners’ insurance will generally cover damage caused by fallen trees and the cost of removal, but check your policy before a storm event happens. Native trees are usually more resistant to hurricane damage.
If You’re a Renter?
Florida landlord-tenant law does not explicitly mention trees or landscaping and only requires the landlord to maintain the structure of the building. This law means that responsibility for tree maintenance is open to negotiation. The law does imply that removing trees without your landlord’s permission is illegal, and it would be a reasonable default assumption that your landlord is responsible for trees.
If you live in a multi-family complex, then your landlord is responsible for all landscaping.
If You’re a Landlord?
Landlords who own complexes with more than four units fall under the commercial rules for tree removal. This means you need to get a permit for all landscape alterations, including tree removal.
In single-family homes, you should assume that you are responsible for all tree-related issues but may require that the tenant handle maintenance and trimming. The rule does not include trees in the building structure that you are legally obliged to maintain. However, you should consider relations with your tenant.
If You’re a Neighbor?
Tree issues cause neighbor issues. It’s best to open lines of communication, especially if you have a tree on your property line. If a neighbor’s tree falls on your property and causes damage, they should be able to make a claim on their homeowners’ insurance.
You are responsible for tree removal if the trunk was on your property but should negotiate with your neighbor on the best way to get the tree removed.
How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Live Oak?
The soil in Live Oak is generally sandy and well-drained. You should not attempt to plant trees that prefer heavier soils, as they will not grow well and will have shorter lifespans.
Some parts of Suwannee county do have heavier clay soils. Live oaks are tolerant of most soil types, as are sand live oaks, but with other trees, it’s worth getting your soil tested before planting to establish whether your trees need any assistance to stay healthy. Healthy trees are less likely to fall and cause issues.
Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Live Oak?
Being further inland, Live Oak is not as affected by hurricanes as the coastal cities further south; however, this does not mean it is outside the zone in which they can happen. Severe thunderstorms are common in the summer, and they too can cause branch loss and tree damage.
Storm damage is the primary concern. However, some non-native trees may experience leaf scorch and heat stress. Leaf scorch makes leaves appear burnt (some bacteria can also cause it). Leaf scorch is a particular problem with non-native maples, which simply can’t handle the heat in Florida.
If you are planting trees, you choose ones that have good wind resistance, heat tolerance, and drought tolerance. As already mentioned, native trees are generally better overall.
What if Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Live Oak?
You should report dead trees or fallen branches impacting power lines to the Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative. You are still responsible for removing trees on your property, but the electric company can help by turning off the power so we can work safely.
The electric company and the City will handle dead or damaged trees threatening power lines on public property. Dead or damaged trees can be a significant cause of post-storm outages.
How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Live Oak?
The typical cost to remove a medium-sized tree is $538, but it’s worth remembering that there are a good number of larger trees in Live Oak, which may cost significantly more to remove.
Larger trees cost more to remove. If we have to notify the county and provide certification for removing a regulated or protected tree, this may also add to the cost. Thankfully, the county only requires permits if you remove the tree for reasons other than because it is diseased and presents a danger. However, we still need to be particularly careful with our assessment of the tree’s condition.
Smaller trees are easier and cheaper to remove.
Because of the risk of shoestring root rot, we may recommend removing the stump, especially if you plan on replanting. Removing the stump will cost more but helps protect your other trees. This is particularly true if the stump is large.
If a tree had shoestring root rot, you should always have us remove the stump to control the spread and protect your trees and those grown by your neighbors.
If a tree has fallen onto a structure, then it will cost considerably more to remove. In this case, we may need to use heavy equipment and perform the removal very carefully to ensure that there is no further damage.
Trees in awkward locations will also cost more to remove for similar reasons. On the other hand, a tree that is readily accessible from the road will cost less to remove.