Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Port St. Joe?
- 2 Does the City of Port St. Joe Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
- 3 Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in Port St. Joe?
- 4 How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Port St. Joe?
- 5 Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Port St. Joe?
- 6 What if Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Port St. Joe?
- 7 How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Port St. Joe?
What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Port St. Joe?
While Port St. Joe may be beautiful, it’s not without its challenges for the diverse population of trees. Storms regularly can devastate not only human construction in the area but also the vibrant plant life. With such a lush environment, diseases are always ready to prey on trees.
At only three feet above sea level, Port St. Joe is often subject to the whims of the coast when storm season rolls around. Even at the beginning of the town’s history, storms plagued the area, with an 1844 hurricane wiping out most of the settlement.
This pattern continues to this day, and in October 2018, Hurricane Michael devastated our community. Hurricane Michael was a massive tragedy, resulting in billions of dollars of damage to structures on the Gulf Coast and 59 deaths. Humans weren’t the only ones that suffered losses. Many wildlife populations were severely damaged, including many of the trees in Port St. Joe.
We’re a resilient community, and a storm won’t chase us away from our homes. Rebuilding is an ongoing effort for both us and the trees in the area. Many gorgeous, historical trees were destroyed or damaged beyond their ability to heal. Even as these trees were thinned by the storm, though, surviving trees took advantage of the extra nutrients and space for their roots, and our trees began rebuilding as well.
In a coastal area with St. Joe’s propensity to severe weather, we must take care of the trees we have and ensure they grow solid and healthy. Weak trees may splinter and break in gale force winds, which can wreak havoc on other trees, buildings, and even people. We’re rebuilding as a community, and that includes ensuring our trees, structures, and people stay strong.
The rich wildlife in the area means that diseases can quickly spread between trees, so we must notice tree diseases before they do irreparable damage to trees. Many diseases prey on trees in the area, and our arborists must be vigilant to check for signs to ensure long-term tree health.
One of the most severe diseases threatening the trees in Port St. Joe is Lethal Bronzing Disease. Lethal Bronzing Disease preys on the palms that are iconic to Port St. Joe. It’s a bacterial infection that can be tough to detect and even tougher to control. The first symptom will typically be the tree prematurely dropping its fruit; then, the oldest leaves will begin to yellow. Typically, by the time, irreparable damage has already been done to the core of the tree.
If you suspect Lethal Bronzing Disease in one of your palm trees, call us immediately. Our expert arborists will need to test the tree, and if Lethal Bronzing is detected, we will need to remove the tree right away. The disease spreads rapidly, so we will also need to test any other nearby palms.
Does the City of Port St. Joe Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
We’re a pretty small town, and unfortunately, the massive task of rebuilding our community in the wake of Hurricane Michael occupies most of our limited town government workers’ time. While you likely won’t get any assistance from the City for tree removal, Gulf County has a timber export arrangement with Twin Rivers Company to alleviate the buildup of downed trees that many property owners face after the hurricane. The collected timber ships from the port in town to Honduras, where Twin Rivers will sell it for electricity generation.
Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in Port St. Joe?
Under Florida law, property owners are only responsible for the damages caused by trees that fell from their property if they were dead and someone has informed them that the tree needs to be removed. For a live or newly dead tree, the damages are considered a no-fault accident for insurance purposes.
Typically, the responsibility to remove a fallen tree rests on the landowner that the tree fell from, regardless of where it lands. When trees grow on property lines, this can create some disputes, and in those cases, it’s probably a good idea to consult the City to see how to proceed.
If You’re a Homeowner?
If you’re a homeowner, the trees on your land are features of your property. They increase the value of your property. You’re responsible for maintaining them and eventually removing them when dead. Especially if your tree fell into another property, it’s essential to call us to get it cleaned up and removed quickly to avoid legal disputes and possible citations from the City.
If You’re a Renter?
If you’re a tenant, a fallen tree on the property is likely the responsibility of your landlord to remove, unless indicated otherwise in your lease. The trees were likely on the property before you came and will be there after you’re gone. Even though tenants are often responsible for lawn care, that usually does not include tree care.
If you have a fallen tree on your rental’s land, your responsibility is limited to notifying your landlord and your landlord making arrangements for its removal. If your landlord fails to remove the tree after you’ve told them, you may have a legal right to remove the tree yourself and seek compensation from the landlord. Each lease is different, though, so before you pick a fight with your landlord, it’s probably best to discuss your rights with a legal advisor.
If You’re a Landlord?
If you are a landlord operating a rental property, you still have the responsibility to remove fallen trees. As the property owner, you probably don’t want your tenants altering the trees on your property in any significant way anyway. Those trees are a feature of your land that potentially boosts the value and appeal of your investment. Thus, it is better to control what goes on with your trees. When a tree falls, that means removing it promptly.
If You’re a Neighbor?
If you’re a neighbor and a tree falls from an adjoining property, it’s typically that property owner’s responsibility to remove the tree. If it falls onto your property, and the neighbor has failed to remove it after repeated notices, it’s probably time to get Port St. Joe Code Enforcement involved to see if you can find a compromise. Even if the tree is not on your land but creates a nuisance by bringing pests and creating an eyesore and the property owner has not removed it, you may want to check with Code Enforcement and see if they can make the property owner remove the tree under the nuisance law.
How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Port St. Joe?
Much of the soils around Port St. Joe are what’s called “Pinckney soil.” These are primarily deep, well-drained sandy soils composed of fine granules of shale, siltstone, and limestone. These may entirely dominate the ground in the low areas around the coastline, where higher land may have significantly more clay in the soil.
Clay promotes moisture retention, and these higher ground soils are often where our less tropical variety of trees thrive. While many trees grow along the sandy coast, the soil close to the port needs careful cultivation to get anything but palms to grow.
Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Port St. Joe?
Well, as we’ve already discussed, storms are a constant threat during the spring and summer months here in Port St. Joe. Even in the absence of hurricanes, powerful winds across The Gulf of Mexico can cause severe damage to trees. During our rainy season, torrential rains can also threaten trees that aren’t healthy and structurally stable. Most of our native species of trees are better suited to the onslaught of storms than non-native varieties, so many people will plant native vegetation on their property.
What if Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Port St. Joe?
The State of Florida requires a 14-foot right-of-way given to power lines for both safety and easy access of utility workers. If a tree has grown too close and has died, you will need to call Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative and have one of their technicians come and safely remove the tree. Power lines can be hazardous, and only trained professionals should remove the trees around them.
The best way to avoid problems with dead trees near power lines is never to let them grow too close to begin with. Under Florida law, utility workers can remove trees under certain conditions that are too close to power lines at the owner’s expense.
How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Port St. Joe?
The cost of tree removal in Port St. Joe depends a lot on the specific circumstances of the tree you’re removing. On average, tree removal here is slightly less expensive than the national average cost, with tree removal being as affordable as $200. Still, the cost can often stretch across an extensive range — sometimes higher than $1,800 — based on several factors.
With a larger tree comes a higher cost. Large trees not only create more to haul away but felling them can be very delicate work. Without proper planning, equipment, and resources, a colossal tree could do massive damage to structures, other trees, and even people nearby. These oversized trees are very hazardous for our arborists, so we make sure to take great care to keep everybody safe when removing huge trees, but this may increase the cost of removal.
Dead or alive, rotten and diseased trees are much more challenging to deal with than otherwise healthy ones. Branches and trunks may not be as structurally stable as first thought in rotted trees, meaning we must do much more careful planning to ensure the safety of our entire removal team.
For trees with diseases like Lethal Bronzing that we discussed above, we will have to take special care to remove the tree without causing it to infect any trees around. Removing the tree can be delicate work and very time-consuming, but it is necessary to prevent diseases from spreading to your other trees.
Trees that are close to structures or other trees pose particular problems for removal. These can increase costs because we will need to take special care not to damage anything nearby when we remove the tree. Trees on large properties with little road access will also pose a logistical challenge and may take more time, effort, and resources to remove.