Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Columbia?
- 2 Does the City of Columbia Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
- 3 Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in Columbia?
- 4 How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Columbia?
- 5 Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Columbia?
- 6 What If Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Columbia?
- 7 How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Columbia?
What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Columbia?
Columbia and Howard County as a whole are known for their verdant trees and urban forest. In fact, Howard County has been a frequent recipient of the Arbor Day Foundation’s “Tree City” designation, thanks to its many environmental initiatives and tree programs. The abundance of trees in the area makes Columbia a beautiful place to live and work. Howard County’s Tree Canopy Program has established a strong, diverse urban forest that consists of everything from huge white oaks and sugar maples to smooth river birch, colorful black gum, and voluminous sycamore. The area is also home to a variety of fruit-bearing trees, including pears, peaches, apricots, and figs.
Unfortunately, the high tree population comes with its own problems, namely pests and diseases that can wreak havoc on the local tree population. Trees in the Columbia area are affected by a number of diseases, including Dutch elm disease, armillaria root disease, bacterial leaf scorch, anthracnose, and apple scab. Trees can also be affected by excessive UV exposure during the winter months, which results in sun damage, or “sunscald” to the unprotected tree surfaces.
Does the City of Columbia Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
With the number of trees in the area, it is no surprise that tree trimming, maintenance, and removal are common. If you have a dead or damaged tree on your property or nearby, it is important to ensure that the damaged sections or the entire tree are removed quickly. Trees suffering from an infestation, fungus, or other diseases can rapidly spread to other trees and cause massive die-offs. A clear example of this phenomenon is the spread of Dutch elm disease across the United States. The epidemic started with the introduction of the Ophiostoma ulmi fungus by beetles present on imported lumber. The fungus began to attack American elms in the 1930s and mercilessly killed more than 77 million trees across the U.S. by 1980. Even today, American elm trees rarely live longer than 10 years because of the ongoing presence of the fungus.
With this in mind, it is critical to regularly inspect and maintain your trees to prevent the spread of disease. Insecticide treatments for some pests, such as Emerald Ash Borer, are key to maintaining the overall health of Columbia’s arboreal landscape. In addition, dead, damaged, or dying trees can pose a direct risk to individuals and property. Trees in public areas, such as along county roads and in county right-of-ways, parks, and easements must be maintained, trimmed, or removed by the Bureau of Highways – Tree Division.
Tree-related emergencies, such as fallen trees in the road or broken limbs that threaten the thoroughfare, should be reported as soon as possible to the Bureau. You can call them at 410-313-7450 Monday-Friday between 9 am and 4 pm, or call the local police at 410-313-2200 during off-hours. Once trees are removed, the Bureau is also responsible for replacing trees in order to prevent erosion.
Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in Columbia?
Maintaining the beautiful tree-lined streets, parks, and neighborhoods of Columbia is a community effort. Trees on major highways in Columbia are typically maintained by the Howard County Bureau of Highways or the Maryland Forestry Board. Trees along the streets are planted consistently with the regulations maintained by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Any tree removals on county, city, or state property must be handled by the appropriate authority. If you spot a hazard, such as a dead tree, dead limbs, leaning trunks, or hanging branches that endanger power lines, streets, or other public areas, be sure to contact the Maryland DNR or Howard County Bureau of Highways immediately.
Generally speaking, you can remove trees that are on your property without the need for a permit. However, trees in any roadside or city-owned property cannot be removed without a permit from the Maryland DNR Forest Service. If tree roots or branches are encroaching on your private property, you may have a right to remedy them. Contact an attorney to determine the best way forward before making any changes to the tree in question. Street trees are typically planted by the Maryland DNR, and cannot be removed without their permission. You can, however, fill out an application for a Tree Project Permit to request the removal of healthy trees that are a hazard to your health or property.
If you’re a homeowner?
If you are a homeowner in Columbia, you are responsible to remove dead, damaged, or diseased trees that are rooted on your property. If a branch or entire tree poses a danger to the public, you should remove the tree as soon as possible. If a tree rooted on public property encroaches or threatens to damage your property, you may have a right to self-remedy. Be sure to check with local authorities and/or an attorney before cutting, pruning, or damaging a tree that is not rooted on your property.
If you’re a renter?
If you are a renter, your responsibility for landscaping is determined largely by the terms of your lease. You may be responsible for basic pruning, but any major items, such as limb and tree removal, would most likely be considered major maintenance and therefore the responsibility of your landlord.
If you’re a landlord?
As a landlord, you are responsible for major property maintenance. This includes limb and tree removal, which may require expensive specialized assistance from industry professionals.
If you’re a neighbor?
If you are having difficulty with a tree that is rooted in your neighbor’s yard, be wary of taking any action that harms the tree. While under certain circumstances you may have the right to correct, such as when a tree or limb threatens your home, it is best to maintain open lines of communication with your neighbor. If they are unresponsive to your concerns, consider contacting an attorney or local authorities before you take any further action.
How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Columbia?
The soil in Columbia, MD, and the surrounding area tends to be deep and loamy with some areas of sandy or gravelly subsoil. Loam is ideal for tree growth, as it has ample nutrients and drains well. Sand and gravel, on the other hand, do not hold moisture well and can result in dried tree roots and stress. This is less of a problem in Columbia, where the loam soil layer runs very deep in most areas.
It is important to note that soil throughout the area has been greatly affected by urban development. The resultant urban soil may contain concrete, chemicals, and other human-introduced materials that can affect the soil quality. In some cases, soil treatments may be necessary to adjust the pH, drainage quality, and nutrients in urban soil. It is therefore critical to have a soil test completed before you plant trees on your property, to match the right plants to the right soils and prevent potential long-term complications. Contact our professional arborists with any questions.
Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Columbia?
The climate of Columbia, MD is humid subtropical, with average temperatures ranging from 33°F in the winter to 73°F in the summer. Annual precipitation is high, at about 46″, and seasonal snowfall averages around 22″. The warm, humid climate of Maryland makes it ideal for a wide range of arboreal growth.
While they generally thrive in the loamy soil and subtropical climate of Columbia, local trees can be damaged by drought conditions, thunderstorms, high winds, flooding, and even the occasional tropical storm. Trees that become stressed due to drought, flooding, freezing temperatures, and sunscald are more prone to infestations and disease, so be sure to watch for signs of stress, including yellowing or brown leaves and early coloration in the fall. Catching your tree’s problems early can help you save the tree in the long run.
What If Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Columbia?
If a dead tree on your property is endangering power lines, it is your responsibility to have it removed as soon as possible. In addition, private wires and cables on your property are your responsibility. Be sure to check your own trees regularly to ensure that there are no dead or damaged trees, limbs, or overhanging branches threatening nearby wires.
For dead trees that are not on your property, you should directly contact the company who owns the threatened wires or cables. Private companies such as Comcast, Verizon, and BGE are required to maintain their own wires and cables.
If you notice a hazardous tree near a highway or major thoroughfare, contact the Howard County Bureau of Highways immediately. For a longer-term solution for non-emergency situations, contact the Maryland Forestry Board who may be able to remove tall trees near power lines and replace them with a shorter species.
How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Columbia?
The cost of removing a tree from your private property in Columbia can vary widely depending on the type of tree, the extent of the damage, size of the root system, accessibility, and whether you choose to have the stump ground or removed. Complete tree removal can range from $400 to $1,300 or more. The three primary factors that influence your tree removal costs include:
Tree Size and Condition
The size, species, and condition of a tree will greatly affect the price of your tree removal in Columbia. Small trees, such as pear or apricot, are lighter, softer, and easier for our team to remove than an aged white oak with wide, spreading branches, hardwood, and extensive root systems. You can expect to pay a significantly higher rate for the removal of a tree that is large, old, and well-established.
Accessibility is a major concern when determining the cost of your tree removal. Your costs will be lower for removing a tree from an easy-to-access area such as your front or side yard. If the removal is from a difficult area or requires special equipment, such as cranes or hoists to prevent large limbs from posing a risk to people or property, you can expect to pay a higher amount.
Our tree removal quotes typically don’t include stump removal, so be sure to ask our arborists for this additional service. Paid separately, you can expect to pay between $85 and $150 for grinding, while full removal can be between $225 and $550. Keep in mind that larger stumps, extensive root systems, rocky soil, and accessibility will all factor into the stump removal costs.