Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in New Orleans?
- 2 Does the City of New Orleans Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
- 3 Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in New Orleans?
- 4 How Does the Soil Affect Trees in New Orleans?
- 5 Does Weather Affect Tree Health in New Orleans?
- 6 What If Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in New Orleans?
- 7 How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in New Orleans?
What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in New Orleans?
There’s no doubt that trees are part of the magic of New Orleans, especially our historic Live Oaks. Some of the city’s trees are well over 800 years old! Trees in New Orleans also contribute to our quality of life by purifying the air, intercepting stormwater, and helping residents stay cool by reducing the heat island effect.
Of course, trees in New Orleans can (and do) get sick, injured, or die of old age. Even healthy trees need regular maintenance, like trimming and pruning. In some situations, tree removal will be the only option, and you’ll need our professional help to make sure it’s done safely and without causing damage. Take a look at the most common problems affecting trees in New Orleans.
Pests and Diseases
The city’s humid, subtropical climate helps native trees thrive. But it’s also the cause of many notorious pests and diseases that can harm or even kill your tree. You may have seen reports of the fatal bacteria that decimated most of our local palm tree population over the last decade, including the famous Canary Island Date Palms. Our beautiful Crepe Myrtles are very susceptible to a disease called Cercospora, which shows up as black spots on their leaves. Many species of trees in New Orleans can suffer from Armillaria Root Rot, a common fungal disease that weakens the tree and stunts its growth.
New Orleans also has a wide variety of both native and invasive pests, including beetles that burrow deep into the tree’s inner bark layer. We even have the dreaded Formosan termite, one of the rare species that prefers to infest living trees. According to the USDA, this pest can be found on around 30 percent of the live oaks in New Orleans. A termite infestation can damage the structural integrity of the tree so much that they become a falling hazard.
The truth is ANY tree that’s affected by pests or disease is more likely to fall. Even the broken limb from a sick tree can become a costly problem if it lands on your house or car. Simply put, unhealthy trees cause a range of problems. Our arborists might be able to restore a sick tree back to life with treatment. But sometimes we need to remove them entirely so that they don’t become a hazard by collapsing during the next storm.
Just like people, trees need the occasional trim to look their best. This brings us to the most common issue facing New Orleans homeowners: scraggly-looking trees. Regular trims are a great investment in the health, beauty, and longevity of your trees. Our trained arborists will thin out limbs that are weak or dead, enhance the natural shape of the tree, and encourage the tree to grow healthy new branches. Groomed trees are less likely to attract pests or disease, and they’re also stronger in a storm.
Problematic or Nuisance Trees
We love our trees in New Orleans, but they can potentially cause damage or create unsafe situations. Aggressive tree roots can get tangled up in the sewer lines, raise the asphalt on driveways or grow into cracks in a home’s foundation. Tall branches can also end up interfering with power lines, which might lead to power outages and the risk of electrocution.
Does the City of New Orleans Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
Removing a nuisance tree on your property is very straightforward, and you don’t need to apply for a permit. However, the City of New Orleans only gets involved with problematic trees located on private property if they’re interfering with utility lines. The city does reserve the right to prune these trees whenever they notice the problem, even without talking to the homeowner about it.
In the case of problematic trees located in the public right-of-way, the city of New Orleans does provide assistance. All trees in public spaces are classified as City Trees, including trees that are between the sidewalk and the street. You can call the Department of Parks and Parkway to notify them about trees that are affecting safety in some way, such as diseased trees that are likely to collapse during bad weather. If the problematic tree is located on an abandoned property, you can report the problem to the department of Environmental Health by calling 311.
Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in New Orleans?
Every storm in New Orleans will come with its fair share of downed trees, especially hurricanes. Trees can also fall because of advanced tree diseases that weaken the tree from the inside out. Fallen trees are more than just an eyesore. They attract wood-boring pests, like termites and carpenter ants, that can then move on to infest nearby trees and homes. That means collapsed trees should be dealt with quickly, but who’s considered responsible in New Orleans?
If you’re a homeowner?
Louisiana law states that all trees on your property are your responsibility, including the removal of collapsed trees. In most cases, your homeowner’s insurance will cover the cost of the removal, especially if the tree caused any damage. But what happens in a scenario where the tree on your land ends up falling onto your neighbor’s property? This situation actually does happen in New Orleans, especially from June to November during hurricane season. According to the law, the homeowner is only responsible if “the damage could have been prevented by the exercise of reasonable care”. In other words, if the tree fell because of some sort of neglect, such as advanced tree disease, you would have to pay for the removal.
In cases where a healthy tree falls because of a severe storm, the homeowner is essentially off the hook. That situation is considered just part of living in The Big Easy and not really anyone’s fault. Your neighbor is technically responsible, but the removal would almost certainly be paid by the neighbor’s homeowner insurance.
If you’re a renter?
Some renters in New Orleans will be asked to do some basic lawn maintenance as part of the terms of their lease. But dealing with a fallen tree is definitely not the responsibility of the renter. However, it’s a good idea to monitor trees on the property and let the owner know if you notice a problem, such as visible signs of disease.
If you’re a landlord?
Landlords are also the owner of the rental property, so you’ll be in charge of hiring our arborists to remove the tree before it becomes a problem. If you’re instead a property manager caring for the property for someone else, you’re not legally responsible for dealing with a fallen tree.
If you’re a neighbor?
Having your neighbor’s tree fall on your property can make you feel pretty unlucky, but it’s definitely not unheard of in New Orleans. If the collapsed tree was in bad condition, such as a tree infested with termites that has visibly poor structural integrity, then your neighbor is responsible for the removal and any damages. Louisiana law considers your neighbor negligent for not taking reasonable care of a hazardous tree, which would have meant getting it professionally removed.
If your neighbor’s tree was healthy, and it only fell onto your property because of a severe storm, then you (or your homeowner’s insurance) would be responsible for the removal. Without the element of negligence, it’s really no different from your own tree falling on the property.
How Does the Soil Affect Trees in New Orleans?
New Orleans is lucky to have very fertile, loamy soil that’s great for growing just about anything, including majestic trees. We tend to think of this rich soil as a gift from the Mississippi River. New Orleans is located in the heart of the Mississippi delta and right at the edge of an alluvial fan, which is the geographic area at the mouth of a river. Alluvial fans are known for having loose soil and sediment, which makes it optimal conditions for a wide variety of plants.
Of course, there are also some downsides to our soil. Drainage is critical in New Orleans because our soil tends to retain water. This is harmful to trees because they need oxygen. Roots can’t be swamped with water for too long, or they can actually begin to rot. Trees in New Orleans will do better if they’re planted on a mound of soil, which essentially functions as a raised bed that allows the water to drain more easily. In general, our native trees are much better suited to thrive in the soil of New Orleans.
Does Weather Affect Tree Health in New Orleans?
We get some pretty unpredictable weather in The Big Easy, including hurricanes and tornadoes. Even a garden-variety tropical storm, as we have often throughout the year, will feature gnarly wind speeds and excessive rain. Trees can lose a major chunk of branches, get fatally damaged or even collapse altogether.
Louisiana also happens to be the second-highest state for having lightning strikes, which makes being struck by lightning, yet another hazard for the city’s trees. This is why lightning protection for trees is a very common service for homeowners in New Orleans. Our arborists will use a specialized lightning rod to direct the flow of electricity to a safe spot at the base of the tree where it won’t cause significant damage.
What If Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in New Orleans?
Dead trees that fall on power lines are a massive electrocution hazard, and they can also easily cause power outages. Entergy has crews around New Orleans that inspect all utility lines to make sure tree branches are not causing problems, or that there aren’t dead trees that can potentially collapse during a storm. If you see a dead or diseased tree located on public land and perilously close to a power line, you should report the situation to Entergy. If the tree is located on private property, then it’s really the homeowner’s job to get the tree either trimmed or removed. However, Entergy employees do intervene with problematic trees on private land.
If a dead tree has already fallen on power lines, you should call 311 immediately. Don’t go near it!
How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in New Orleans?
The cost of getting a tree removed in New Orleans will vary quite a bit depending on how much time, equipment, and effort the job will take. Homeowners can expect to pay around $280 for the easiest removal possible, but it goes all the way up to more than $1300 for a very complex project. Here are the main factors that will go into your estimate:
Size of the Tree
This is the leading factor in your estimate since the difficulty of cutting the tree goes up roughly with the height of the tree. Cutting a tall tree is actually something that’s done in sections and requires specialized equipment. Our arborists have to climb the tree to make the cuts, and we all work as a team to make the process safe and efficient. In some cases, we may even need a crane, which does increase the price. Trees that are short enough to make just one cut at the base will definitely cost less.
Location of the Tree
The logistics of removing a tree become more complicated if the tree is very close to a home or business, surrounded by other trees, or near any power lines. Our team of arborists has to engineer where the tree falls, or how the sections should fall, to make sure there’s no damage. This is why the location and overall accessibility of the tree will definitely factor into your estimate. Trees that are located all by themselves in an open field are simpler to remove, and they naturally cost less.
Condition of the Tree
Some trees are in a structurally precarious condition because of pests or diseases, including weak branches or rot at the trunk. Our arborists have to take special care to remove a tree that’s not very stable, and potentially already leaning over. Rest assured that we’ll still do the job safely and efficiently, but the tree’s overall condition will potentially affect the price.