Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Santa Rosa Beach?
- 2 Does the City of Santa Rosa Beach Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
- 3 Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in Santa Rosa Beach?
- 4 How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Santa Rosa Beach?
- 5 Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Santa Rosa Beach?
- 6 What If Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Santa Rosa Beach?
- 7 How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Santa Rosa Beach?
What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Santa Rosa Beach?
Non-native vegetation like skunk vine poses a threat to the area’s trees. Skunk vine was first brought to Florida from Asia in the late 1800s, as a potential fiber crop. Today, this invasive species has spread all across the state. The woody vine damages trees by covering them and blocking out the sunlight. In addition, skunk vine can become so heavy that covered trees are more likely to fall down during a storm. And as the name suggests, this plant emits an unpleasant odor and has earned official designation as a noxious weed. Skunk vine’s aggressive spread is due to its ability to thrive in a variety of Florida’s habitats: forests, sandhills, floodplain forests, and marshland. Skunk vine is difficult to eliminate but can be kept at bay by removing the entire plant (including the roots) and spraying with herbicides.
An issue for certain fruit-bearing trees in Santa Rosa Beach is a condition called citrus greening. While Santa Rosa is too far north for commercial citrus farms, many homeowners enjoy having a tree or two in their yard. Insects called Asian citrus psyllids are responsible for creating and spreading citrus greening. Any fruit from affected trees is often hard, bitter, and inedible. Unfortunately, most infested trees will die within a few years. You can help prevent the spread of citrus greening by enjoying any fruits you grow at home, and not transporting them elsewhere. There are insecticide treatments we can use that can help control the Asian citrus psyllid population.
Does the City of Santa Rosa Beach Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
There are many environmentally protected areas in Walton County, including Santa Rosa Beach. In most cases, you will need to have a documented reason to remove a tree, like a construction or renovation project. But you typically don’t need a permit to remove a tree that “is dead, diseased or dying, or has potential to cause structural damage.” However, Walton County’s (unofficial) land clearance motto is, “Remember, it’s better to check beforehand.” This is wise advice. If you clear protected land without prior authorization, you will have to pay a fine, and restoration of the area may not be cheap. If you have questions about tree removal, you can call the Walton County Administrator’s office at (850) 892-8155.
Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in Santa Rosa Beach?
In Walton County, almost 75% of homes are owner-occupied. This is an important statistic because the responsibility for fallen tree removal lies with the homeowner. And the law makes it clear that it’s the placement of the tree’s trunk (not the branches) that determines ownership. We do occasionally see trees that straddle property lines. In the eyes of the law, these are called “boundary trees” and both homeowners have equal responsibility for the tree.
Fallen trees are not just an inconvenience, but they’re also a hazard and should be removed immediately. If you are involved in a dispute over who is responsible, here are some general guidelines.
If you’re a homeowner?
As we noted above, homeowners are responsible for removing any fallen trees. This is true even if the tree landed off your property, like in the road or on your neighbor’s patio. If you do have a fallen tree, your first call should be to your homeowner’s insurance. Most policies offer some coverage for fallen tree removal, especially if it’s the result of inclement weather or a natural disaster. If the tree is on the small side and you have a large deductible, you’ll have to decide if it’s worth making an insurance claim.
If you’re a renter?
Unless your lease agreement explicitly states that you are responsible for fallen tree removal, it’s not your responsibility. Even if you perform routine lawn care like mowing, tree removal is generally considered above and beyond these types of tasks. The city will expect your landlord to remove the downed tree in a timely manner.
However, you may be on the hook for tree removal costs if you did something careless or reckless that caused the tree to fall. And, you may also face fines from Walton County.
If you’re a landlord?
If you’re a landlord, you also own the property, so you must take care of fallen tree removal.
If the tenant was negligent or irresponsible and caused the tree to fall, you may be able to have them cover the costs. If the two of you cannot come to an agreement, you’ll want to speak with a tenant-landlord attorney or Walton County about your rights.
If you’re a neighbor?
We understand your frustration. You’ve been worried about that Oak tree for months now, but your neighbor wouldn’t do anything about it. And now that tree is lying across your lawn. Are you stuck with the responsibility of removing it? No. So long as the tree’s trunk grows entirely on your neighbor’s property, they must remove it in a timely manner. If your neighbor isn’t cooperating, you may turn to Walton County for help.
How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Santa Rosa Beach?
Sinkholes are one way that the soil affects trees in Santa Rosa Beach. The entire state lies on top of the Floridan Aquifer System. When the water level in these aquifers goes down, the soil will shift. And it’s that movement of soil that causes sinkholes. Unfortunately, trees that are on or near a large sinkhole will go right down with it.
And it’s not surprising that some of the soil in Walton County is sandy. This creates a paradox. Trees can help prevent the erosion of looser, sandy soils, but many trees will struggle to grow in that environment. If your yard does contain sandy soil, you’ll want to take that into account when planting any new trees. The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences has compiled a list of trees for home landscaping in northwest Florida.
Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Santa Rosa Beach?
Santa Rosa Beach is in the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 9a. These zones are determined by an area’s minimum winter temperatures. This temperature range for the 9a zone is 20 to 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Any tree that is planted or currently growing here must be suited to this Hardiness Zone.
Hurricanes are a fact of life in Santa Rosa Beach and do pose a significant threat to trees. Hurricane Season in the Atlantic Basin runs from June through the end of November. There are some actions that homeowners can take to protect their trees. Research has proven that certain forms of pruning can prevent wind damage. In addition, selecting a storm-resistant tree variety is important when planting new trees. Holly, Sycamore, and Swamp chestnut oak are good choices that will withstand Santa Rosa Beach’s severe weather.
What If Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Santa Rosa Beach?
Dead trees near power lines pose a serious safety risk. If the tree is on your property, call us right away. It’s important to remove the tree before a gust of wind or storm knocks it down. We always work safely and coordinate tree removal with the local utility companies.
If the tree is on someone else’s property, you should call the appropriate Walton County Utility Service. If the tree falling is imminent and time is of the essence, you can contact the Walton County Sheriff’s Department at (850) 892-8111. They can send someone out to block off the area.
How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Santa Rosa Beach?
The average cost of tree removal in Santa Rosa Beach is $610 to $840. You could pay as much as $1,813 for a large tree or one that is difficult to access. The estimates that we mention here do not include taxes or permit fees. The final price tag for tree removal depends on several factors.
The price of tree removal does not usually include removing the stumps. Some homeowners choose to leave the stump as-is, but that is not always practical or desirable. Stumps are a tripping hazard, limit what you can do with that section of your yard, and attract pests. And decaying stumps can contribute to the creation of sinkholes, so it’s a good idea to remove them.
The easiest and most cost-effective way to remove a stump is to grind it down. You can expect to pay between $85 and $145 per stump for that service. Another option for stump removal is to pull the stump out of the ground. That will cost more, as we may need to bring in additional workers.
The Overall Health of the Tree
Generally speaking, healthy trees are more difficult to remove than infested or dying ones. And a fallen tree is cheaper to remove than one that we have to cut down. So while it can be sad to lose an orange tree due to citrus greening, at least it will be a little easier on your wallet.
How Easy the Tree Is to Access
Some jobs can be a tight squeeze for our crew and our equipment. We also have to take safety measures to protect any nearby buildings, pools, sidewalks, and roadways. If the tree is sandwiched between your and your neighbor’s garages, you can expect to pay more for removal.