Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Olathe?
- 2 Does the City of Olathe Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
- 3 Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in Olathe?
- 4 How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Olathe?
- 5 Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Olathe?
- 6 What If Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Olathe?
- 7 How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Olathe?
What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Olathe?
Since Olathe’s incorporation in 1857, Olathe has become a growing, thriving city, serving everyone from travelers on the Oregon and Chisholm Trails to the many customers of Farmers Insurance. From the shady spaces around historic Mahaffie House to the Veteran’s Park Trees, as our city has grown, the city government has taken care to ensure we have shady streets and well-maintained parks. Olathe’s commitment to our trees extends to our Tree Protection Ordinance and our local Tree Tours. Unfortunately, diseases, insects, weather, and the strain of growing in difficult conditions, such as an urban landscape, can prove challenging for many of our trees. Some of the more common tree problems we encounter in Olathe include:
Many people don’t think about trees as being something that can catch a disease, but they most certainly can. Tree diseases often take the form of a fungus that weakens a tree as it spreads, and many are fatal, especially to trees already stressed by other conditions. Tree diseases are most frequently spread by insects, especially invasive ones, but can also be spread by infected firewood, lumber, packing materials, and from tree to tree when roots of different trees come into contact.
- Cankers — These common, fungal tree ailments, such as Hypoxylon Canker which often affects oaks, can cause stressed trees to die as the infection spreads around the trunk, limiting a tree’s ability to use the nutrients and water in the soil. Trees will generally have yellowing leaves or browning needles, ugly blotches (cankers) on the bark, eventually, bark that falls off as the tree weakens, and finally tree death.
- Oak Wilt — Affecting red oaks most aggressively, oak wilt is an incurable disease spread between trees by insects or from tree to tree when roots grow or graft together. Leaves will brown or “scorch” and trees can die within a matter of weeks or months after infection.
Many invasive insects have a devastating effect on our native trees, as they usually have no predators here to keep them in check. Proper care and vigilance are critical to protecting our trees and helping prevent the spread of these unwanted, destructive pests.
- Emerald Ash Borer — This invasive species has no predators here and has been spreading across the US, destroying ash trees as it goes. Up to a third of trees on private properties in Olathe may be ash trees, and emerald ash borer infestations are always fatal for untreated trees.
- Gypsy Moths — Brought to the US in the 19th century in a misguided attempt to revive the silk industry, the gypsy moth has become a recurring scourge on trees across many parts of the country, including here in Olathe. Gypsy moths will attack and defoliate over 300 different species of trees and can kill weakened trees, or kill a tree outright with several repeated infestations.
- Bark Beetles — Several kinds of bark beetles can be found in our part of Kansas. These beetles chew paths under the bark, disrupting a tree’s ability to spread water and nutrients through its branches, and creating unpleasant-looking growths that stick out from the trunk and branches. While they usually don’t attack healthy trees, if they infest a tree already weakened by other diseases, insects, drought, or other stresses, they can be fatal.
- Pine Wilt — Spread by pine sawyer beetles, pine wilt is caused by a tiny worm, called a nematode, which is especially harmful to red and black pine trees.
Trees can be as vulnerable as anything else to harsh weather conditions and other challenges in their environments. Some common environmental conditions which can stress or weaken trees in Olathe include:
- Poor soil conditions
- Lack of room for branches and/or roots to grow
Does the City of Olathe Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
The City of Olathe does not assist with private tree removal but is responsible for trees in our parks, and along our shady streets. The city does require dead or severely diseased trees to be removed and sets regulations about the allowed clearance under branches and limbs that extend over streets and sidewalks. If you notice problems with city trees or those on private property, you can contact the Olathe Code Enforcement department for assistance. For tree removal issues on private property, you will generally need to contact our professionals for tree service.
Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in Olathe?
According to Kansas law, homeowners are normally responsible for healthy trees which fall onto their property, usually as the result of weather conditions. Luckily, homeowners insurance will usually cover damage in such instances, and sometimes some tree removal costs, as storm damages are considered “act of God” occurrences. When trees are obviously in poor shape, whether diseased, dying, or dead from whatever causes, the owner of the property where the tree grew is normally liable for damages and tree removal.
If you’re a homeowner?
Homeowners are generally responsible for removing healthy trees which have fallen on their property, even when the tree belongs to a neighbor or the city. If your neighbor’s dead or dying tree falls on your property, however, they are usually liable. In addition, if a homeowner knows about a tree at risk (dead, dying, or otherwise in danger of falling) but did nothing, their insurance company may not pay-related claims due to their negligence.
If you’re a renter?
If you rent your home, you are rarely responsible for fallen trees on your property — they are normally your landlord’s responsibility as the owner of the home. You can help prevent damage, however, by alerting your landlord to any damaged or unhealthy trees on your property and neighboring lots.
If you’re a landlord?
Unless a lease agreement states otherwise, landlords are generally responsible for tree removal on their properties along with the same guidelines as homeowners. Keeping the trees on your property in good condition is an important way to protect your investment, and to aid good landlord-tenant relations.
If you’re a neighbor?
Part of being a good neighbor is helping to make sure your property doesn’t cause problems for the homes next door to you. This includes taking care of your trees and letting your neighbor know if their trees are cause for concern. If your neighbor’s healthy tree falls onto your property, you (and your insurance company) are normally responsible for its removal, while a tree’s owner is generally on the hook for removing unhealthy or dead trees.
How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Olathe?
Around Olathe, most of our soil is a silty loam or silty clay loam. While loam is normally a great soil for promoting good tree growth, when we experience drought conditions, this soil doesn’t always hold enough water for trees to thrive. In addition, in more urban parts of Olathe, construction and development can compact or press the soil together, making it even harder for tree roots to spread properly for healthy growth.
Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Olathe?
While our soil and weather combine to make us the country’s top producer of winter wheat and sorghum, it is not always so hospitable to our trees. Drought conditions can take a huge toll on trees, not only from the limited water they have available, but also by weakening them, making trees more vulnerable to disease and insect infestation. Tornadoes and severe storms can also be very hard on our trees, as limbs are pulled away and whole trees are felled by their strong winds or lightning strikes. While most ice storms aren’t as bad as the historic storms of 2002 or 2007, any ice buildup can add an incredible amount of weight to trees, causing damage that leaves trees more susceptible to other hazards.
What If Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Olathe?
Evergy is responsible for trees along power line rights-of-way, including trimming and tree removal as needed. If you notice dead or dying trees in the vicinity of power lines, you can report them to Evergy, so they can be taken care of before they cause an outage or spark a fire by falling on power lines. If problematic trees are on your property, the electric company will generally remove the portion of the tree that may affect power lines, leaving you responsible for the remainder, such as part of the trunk, or a stump.
How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Olathe?
While many homeowners anticipate tree removal to be prohibitively expensive, prices around Olathe are generally pretty reasonable. The average tree removal will cost about $500 to $700, though having an already-fallen tree removed will cost substantially less and a large, healthy tree will be much more costly. Because every tree and situation is different, though, costs can be affected by a number of factors, including:
Size and Type of Tree
As you’d expect, smaller trees generally cost less to remove than larger trees. Trees with split trunks, widely-spreading or interlaced branches, or other complicated structures can be more expensive to remove, too. Some hardwood trees are more heavy and dense, such as oak and hickory, and those can require more time and effort to remove. Some conifers such as pine and spruce can require more cleanup time, also adding to costs.
Tree Location and Accessibility
The ease with which we can access your tree will play a role in costs, so we can get our equipment as close to our work as needed. For trees growing in residential areas, we must take special care to protect your home, garage, outbuildings, utility lines, play equipment, swimming pool, patio, landscaping, and of course your neighbors’ properties, too. The more we have to work around, the more expensive the tree removal is likely to be.
Additional Equipment and Services
If your tree removal requires any specialized equipment or a larger crew from us, that will add to the bottom line. Many homeowners request additional services with their tree removals, such as limb chipping, log splitting, stump removal and grinding, and others. If you select any such services, they may add to your overall costs.