Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Billerica?
- 2 Does the City of Billerica Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
- 3 Who Is Responsible for Fallen Tree Removal in Billerica?
- 4 How Does The Soil Affect Trees In Billerica?
- 5 Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Billerica?
- 6 What if Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Billerica?
- 7 How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Billerica?
What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Billerica?
From the beautiful trails of Great Brook Farm State Park and our popular state forests to our shady neighborhoods and historic homes, Billerica is an attractive town that lures a growing population and numerous industries and businesses. Trees have always been significant in our area, often serving as landmarks on early land surveys. Identifying different tree species was important enough that an early map of the boundaries of Billerica includes details on specific trees found in the young town, including white oak, black oak, birch, red oak, and pine. Until it was brought down by Hurricane Gloria, we also celebrated our beloved Washington Oak which commemorated George Washington’s visit here in 1789. Unfortunately, hurricanes and other hazards can require the removal of even our most honored trees. Some of the most common reasons we are called for tree removal around Billerica include:
Trees can catch diseases just like people can, threatening their health and even causing tree death in some cases. Most commonly around Billerica, we see:
- White Pine Needlecast – Several kinds of fungi thrive in wet, cooler conditions and attack pine trees around the region, stressing and weakening these popular evergreens.
- Dutch Elm Disease – One of the most familiar tree diseases, Dutch elm disease has attacked and killed countless numbers of our graceful state tree. Untreated trees will almost always die, while those with treatment will often survive, especially if it is caught early before the disease impacts the entire tree.
Some insect pests that injure or kill trees around Billerica have been a problem in our area for decades, while others are found in nearby locations and almost certainly will be found in Middlesex County in the months and years to come. While some infestations can kill trees outright, others weaken trees so that they are more vulnerable to other tree diseases and severe weather.
- Gypsy Moths – Since they were brought to nearby Medford in a failed attempt to revive the silk industry in the 1800s, gypsy moths have expanded their territory across New England and beyond, defoliating and killing millions of trees in hundreds of species as they go.
- Asian Longhorned Beetle – Found in areas as close as Worcester, the Asian longhorn beetle is an invasive insect that can kill trees by blocking their ability to move water and nutrients through their internal structures. Commonly attacked tree species include maple, birch, sycamore, poplar, and willow.
- Emerald Ash Borer – Identified in surrounding Essex and Suffolk Counties recently, the emerald ash borer is a relatively new invader to the United States and is rapidly killing vast numbers of our native ash trees.
- Southern Pine Beetle – While their name suggests they should only be a problem below the Mason-Dixon line, southern pine beetles are infesting and killing trees in nearby areas and have been detected in parts of Massachusetts as well. They can easily destroy stands of both white pine and pitch pine, common across many parts of our state, including in Billerica.
- Hemlock Wooly Adelgid – This tiny insect injures and usually kills the hemlock trees which it infests. Hemlock wooly adelgids feed aggressively on our susceptible Eastern hemlocks and have no native predators.
Does the City of Billerica Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
The City Parks and Trees division and Billerica’s Tree Warden are responsible for properly caring for, maintaining, and removing dead or diseased trees from public spaces and those that are a public hazard, even on private property. Homeowners are responsible for the maintenance and removal of trees on their own properties. If a tree on your property falls into Billerica’s protected wetlands and buffer zones, you will likely need to seek approval from the City to remove it.
Who Is Responsible for Fallen Tree Removal in Billerica?
Numerous legal cases and current Massachusetts laws indicate that the responsibility for healthy trees which fall is normally the responsibility of the property owners where they fall, while responsibility for unhealthy trees which come down depends on how obviously diseased or damaged they were when they fell. For a tree’s owner to be responsible for its removal (and any damages it may have caused in the process), the tree must generally be in bad enough shape that the average person would find it obviously in poor health. Tree owners may also be liable for associated costs if they try to do their own tree trimming or removal and cause damage or injury when they do so; one of many reasons it’s smarter and safer to hire a tree service rather than try to DIY it.
If you’re a homeowner?
As mentioned, homeowners (and their insurance companies) are generally responsible for removing a healthy fallen tree that comes down in a storm or other “act of God” accident. Clearly dead or diseased trees which come down on your property may be the responsibility of the tree’s owner instead.
If you’re a renter?
Renters are rarely responsible for tree removal where they live. Normally, landlords must foot the bill for having a tree removed on any properties they rent out, as they are the property owners. However, tenants can help prevent damage by reporting any tree issues to landlords, both on your property and in neighboring yards.
If you’re a landlord?
Landlords must generally pay for the expense of tree removal along the same lines that homeowners do. Proper tree maintenance and care from our specialists is one way to protect your valuable investment and keep your tenants happier.
If you’re a neighbor?
If your neighbor’s tree falls onto your property during a storm, assuming the tree was healthy, you and your insurance company will normally cover the cost of its removal. If a dead or visibly diseased tree from your neighbor’s property falls onto yours, your neighbor may be responsible for its removal, due to their negligence in maintaining it or not having it removed if needed.
How Does The Soil Affect Trees In Billerica?
As George Washington noted in his 1789 visit to Billerica, the soil in our area is generally pretty sandy, with lots of swampy wetland areas, too. Specifically, much of our soil would be identified as a sandy loam. Loam soils are generally ideal for healthy tree growth, allowing plenty of room for roots to spread and holding ample water and nutrients. Especially in our wetland areas, a higher volume of sand in our soil is needed to allow proper drainage, which can help prevent tree roots and bases from rotting.
Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Billerica?
Despite the occasional hurricane and nor’easter blowing through and damaging our trees, Billerica’s weather is normally ideal for tree growth, as our many mature and healthy trees bear witness. Winter’s deep snows can also place a heavy burden on our trees, especially those which are weakened by disease or injury, or those with structural issues that make them more susceptible to damage.
What if Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Billerica?
In compliance with federal guidelines, Massachusetts Electric must maintain trees and other plants around primary electric distribution and transmission lines to help prevent outages and ensure the integrity of our power grid. Trees that may interfere with your service line (from the pole to your home) are your responsibility to maintain, though Massachusetts Electric can protect or temporarily turn off power to your service line if you are having us come to work on any problematic trees. You can help prevent tree and powerline issues by choosing appropriate species when you are adding or replacing trees on your property, by selecting trees that won’t grow tall enough to interfere.
How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Billerica?
If you love having trees on your property, the thought of having to remove one can be dismaying, while those who prefer to avoid the risks and extra chores that having trees can bring may be excited at the prospect of fewer trees on their properties. What both sides tend to agree on is the fear that tree removal costs will be very expensive. You can rest easy on that count, knowing that the average tree removal we perform in Billerica runs about $550, and trees that have already fallen generally cost hundreds of dollars below average to remove. However, because each tree’s situation is unique, costs can vary widely from around $150 up to $2,000 or more. Some features of a tree removal job are most likely to influence its cost, including:
Size and Type of Tree
You probably won’t be surprised to hear that we generally need to charge a little more to remove a larger tree than we do for a smaller tree. You may not know, however, that the species of tree can make a difference in your costs, too. Denser, heavier trees, such as the oaks and hickories common in Billerica, require more time and effort from our team to remove, making them a bit more expensive.
Location and Accessibility
An average-sized tree in the middle of an open yard is the kind of tree we love to remove (and which your wallet will love, too). Unfortunately, those are rare cases. Most of the time, we need to plan a tree removal job around your home, garage, swimming pool, patio, other trees, play equipment, power lines, and, of course, your neighbors’ properties. The more obstacles to a tree’s safe removal, the more it may cost. If it’s harder to access, such as along a riverbank or a steep slope, it may also be more expensive to remove.
Additional Equipment and Services
Sometimes we need a bucket truck or other specialized equipment to remove a tree, both to protect our crew and to prevent damage to your property. This can add to your bottom line. Many homeowners would like us to cut and split a tree for firewood, chip limbs for mulch, or grind out the stump after tree removal. We are happy to provide such added services, but they may also add to your costs.