Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Athens?
- 2 Does the City of Athens Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
- 3 Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in Athens?
- 4 How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Athens?
- 5 Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Athens?
- 6 What if Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Athens?
- 7 How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Athens?
What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Athens?
From The Tree That Owns Itself and the University of Georgia Arboretum to the lovely dogwoods of Prince Avenue and the stunning trees of the Botanical Gardens, Athens is a city that celebrates its trees. In fact, Athens has a Community Tree Ordinance to ensure that trees on public and private property are cared for and attended to properly. Unfortunately, despite the best care and ideal growing conditions, most trees will have problems at some point, if only from old age. Some of the most common issues we find with trees in Athens include:
Tree fungal infections can be spread to trees through spores that travel in the breeze, diseases transported from tree to tree by insects, or underground when roots from different trees grow or graft together. Famous tree diseases you may have heard of include Dutch Elm Disease and the Chestnut Blight. More common today are:
- Root Rot — Several fungi can cause root rot, but one frequent offender is Armillaria fungus. Affected trees can die quickly if they are already weak or otherwise more susceptible, but healthier trees can sometimes fight off infection for a long while. Trees generally rot out at the base as the disease progresses from the roots, and trees lose their hold in the earth and can topple.
- Cankers — A variety of canker diseases affect many types of trees in Georgia. For example, Thousand Cankers attacks walnut trees, Seiridium Canker preys on Leyland Cypress trees, and Pitch Canker damages southern pine trees. Cankers form what look almost like scabs on the bark of trees and, when they spread around a tree’s trunk (called girdling the tree), they can block the flow of water and nutrients, eventually killing the affected tree.
Beetles and other insects are another common problems for our Athens trees. The same weather conditions that can make life pleasant here can be a comfortable environment for many insects. These pests are often imported accidentally from other countries, have few if any predators here, and feed happily on our poor trees.
- Ambrosia Beetles — One of the more commonly seen pests, Ambrosia Beetles carve pathways inside the bark of affected trees until they prevent water and nutrients from spreading through a tree, eventually causing its death. Trees most susceptible to their attack include crape myrtle, dogwood, redbud, maple, pecan, peach, persimmon, magnolia, azalea, rhododendron, and sweetgum.
- Pine Bark Beetles — While Pine Bark Beetles don’t generally infest or kill healthy, vigorously growing trees, they will take advantage of trees that are stressed by drought, poor growing conditions, or those which have been injured by storms, other infestations, or poor maintenance. In those cases, infestations are often fatal for the trees, causing browning needles, branch death, and finally, tree death.
Athens is lucky to normally have excellent growing conditions for our trees and other plants, though sometimes Mother Nature has a trick up her sleeve. Summer storms can pack strong winds and heavy rain or even hail which can damage trees or even blow them over if conditions are right. In winter, while our weather is generally rather mild, ice storms can add substantial weight to delicate branches, resulting in splits and broken limbs, occasionally a fallen tree.
Does the City of Athens Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
While Athens won’t step in and remove a tree for you, you may report a dangerous tree, such as one in danger of falling or with branches blocking sidewalks or other public routes, to the Community Forester who can request the property owner to remove the tree. You may also take advantage of the Community Tree Program, through which you can get advice about the trees on your property and how best to care for them. Of course, Athens does take responsibility for all of the trees in our community and public spaces, tending them carefully within the recommended guidelines of the Community Tree Ordinance.
Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in Athens?
According to Georgia law, homeowners and their insurance companies are normally responsible for healthy trees that fall onto their property, even if they belong to a neighbor or the city. In the case of a clearly unhealthy or dead tree, the person on whose property the tree grew is usually responsible for its removal and damages caused by the tree. In fact, if it can be proven that someone knew about an unhealthy, risky tree on their property and did nothing about it, they can be considered negligent for that omission, and their insurance company may reject claims related to its falling. It is important to keep an eye on the trees on your property and those of your neighbors to help ensure everyone’s safety and protect property.
If you’re a homeowner?
As mentioned, if a healthy tree falls on your property, you’re normally responsible for its removal, as it falls under the “act of God” category of your insurance coverage. If instead, the tree was clearly unhealthy or already dead, then the owner of the property where the tree grew is likely liable for it. If a tree grew across a property line, both property owners are usually responsible for its removal.
If you’re a renter?
Renters are rarely responsible for the grounds of the property they rent, except for lawn care and other regular maintenance tasks. If a tree falls on the property you rent, your landlord is normally responsible, though your renter’s insurance may cover any damage to your possessions. As the most likely person around the property, it’s helpful to alert your landlord to any diseased or dead limbs and trees whenever you notice them at your home or a neighboring lot.
If you’re a landlord?
Landlords are generally responsible for removing healthy trees that fall onto property they rent out unless a lease agreement stipulates otherwise. Properly maintaining trees on your rental properties is a great way to be a good landlord.
If you’re a neighbor?
If your neighbor’s tree falls on your property, you are generally liable for it unless the tree was in obviously poor health. If it was unhealthy, your neighbor is probably responsible instead.
How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Athens?
Soil is made up mostly of three parts: sand, silt, and clay. In the right ratio, they make a soil that’s excellent for growing plants and trees, called loam. We are lucky here that the soil around Athens Clarke County is primarily sandy loam and sandy clay loam, making it well-draining soil that holds enough moisture and nutrients for trees to grow well, with plenty of room for roots to grow.
Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Athens?
Luckily, tornadoes are very rare in Athens, and thanks to the Bermuda High-pressure system, hurricanes are equally uncommon, even though we aren’t that far from the ocean. That’s not to say that we don’t suffer some storm remnants and severe weather. We certainly do, and those winds combined with heavy rain that saturates the soil are two of the main threats to our trees, bringing down limbs and trees when they hit. Athens is otherwise blessed with the kind of climate that encourages trees to thrive.
What if Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Athens?
Georgia Power maintains the trees and vegetation in residential areas around the vicinity of their transmission lines. Part of that work includes removing dead trees, or at least parts of them if they threaten to fall on power lines. If you notice dead trees close to power lines, you can contact Georgia Power to alert them to a possibly hazardous situation. You can also help prevent problems between power lines and trees by following Georgia Power’s Right Tree Right Place planting suggestions if you consider adding any trees to your landscaping.
How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Athens?
When you look at a large tree in your yard and imagine the difficulty (and expense) of taking it down, you may postpone the work, fearing it will cost too much. You may be surprised to know, however, that the average tree removal in Athens only costs about $550, and removal of a tree that has already fallen is far, far below that. Because every tree and its situation are so different, quite a few aspects of the job can affect its cost. Several of the most common factors that influence prices are:
Size and Location of the Tree
As you probably expect, smaller trees generally cost less to remove. That’s also true for trees that are very easy to get to instead of ones that present a very complicated removal. Trees need not just be larger to cost more; trees with split trunks, interlaced branches, and other unusual structures can also cost more. A tree’s location is just as important. We need to perform tree removal while preventing damage to your home, neighboring properties, garages, other outbuildings, play equipment, swimming pools, utility lines, landscaping, and many other valuable parts of your property. The more we need to work around, the more it will generally cost.
Additional Equipment and Services
Whenever we need to bring in specialized equipment or tools, prices can go up. Emergency tree removal services can also, sometimes, have additional fees. If you choose to perform any other services such as log splitting, limb chipping, or stump grinding, that may also add to the tree removal cost.
Permits and Other Expenses
While most trees on private property in Athens are not specifically protected, the city does require a permit to remove a tree in some cases, which can add to your costs. In addition, if your tree removal requires a larger crew, the additional labor can add to the bottom line.