Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Rockville?
- 2 Does the City of Rockville Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
- 3 Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in Rockville?
- 4 How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Rockville?
- 5 Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Rockville?
- 6 What if Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Rockville?
- 7 How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Rockville?
What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Rockville?
Since the earliest times, Rockville’s creeks and gentle hills have proven a desirable place to live. From the trails of Rock Creek Park to our beautiful Meadowside and Croydon Creek Nature Centers, we continue to celebrate nature in abundance in Rockville while still benefiting from our proximity to the District and all that it has to offer. Our Forest and Tree Preservation Ordinance shows our commitment to protecting our natural environment, designed to ensure our trees are cared for and protected from hazards. Our Street Tree Plan helps plan for the future, so our trees can continue to grace streets and parks for generations to come.
Just as people and animals can catch diseases, trees can, too. Unfortunately for trees, these are often incurable diseases, some of which can be fatal quickly. Some of the tree diseases we see most often around Rockville include:
- Oak Wilt — Affecting primarily red oaks and other tree species as well, oak wilt is a fungus spread among trees by multiple types of ants, beetles, and other insects. As the fungus grows inside an affected tree, it prevents the tree from moving water through its vascular systems, rapidly killing it. Oak wilt may be the culprit when you see leaves quickly turning brown and wilting, often causing tree death within a few months to a year. White oaks and other types of oaks are less susceptible but may still be affected.
- Anthracnose Fungus — This fungal infection affects numerous trees, including dogwood, sycamore, birch, walnut, hickory, and maples. It is most aggressive when conditions are wet and cool, causing leaves to warp and brown. While it rarely kills trees on its own, anthracnose can weaken trees, leaving them vulnerable to other diseases or insect pests.
- Sudden Oak Death — Caused by an invasive fungus, Sudden Oak Death has been seen primarily as a disease of oak trees and can also affect rhododendrons and others. This fungal infection can kill trees and other plants in a very short time by creating blistered areas, called cankers, on their trunks, eventually blocking their ability to move water and nutrients internally.
Our many native trees are vulnerable to numerous insect pests, especially invasive species for which they have no natural resistance. Many of these pests also have few, if any, predators here, so they can spread unchecked through our forests and urban canopies.
- Tent Caterpillars and Webworms — Both types of caterpillars, webworms and tent caterpillars, defoliate trees, weakening them and, sometimes, causing their deaths. Around Rockville, we mostly see fall webworms, which feed primarily on ash, oak, basswood, mulberry, apple, poplar, willow, and sweetgum, though they enjoy all kinds of trees especially fruit trees. Wild cherry trees are a favorite of the Eastern Tent Caterpillars we mostly see in Rockville, but birch, plum, crabapples, and even rose bushes can be vulnerable, too. Both worms create unpleasant-looking nests out of a spider silk-type material, often in the space where several branches extend from the trunk or a larger limb. These webby nests house hundreds of tiny caterpillars. Infestations are rarely fatal but can weaken many trees, making them more vulnerable to other attacks.
- Gypsy Moths — A long-time pest in Maryland, gypsy moths arrived here after spreading from Massachusetts. They were introduced in the 19th century to try and revive the domestic silk industry. Oaks and other deciduous trees are their favorites, but they will feed on nearly any tree. Several years of defoliation by gypsy moths can result in tree death.
- Spider Mites — These very tiny pests are actually in the spider family rather than actual insects. Different species feed on various trees, including spruce, larch, fir, pine, and hemlock. Spider mite infestations can be fatal to smaller trees and leave larger trees vulnerable to attack by other insects and tree diseases.
- Bag Worms — A type of caterpillar, bagworms feed on many kinds of evergreens, including cedar, pine, juniper, and arborvitae. As they move around a tree, they form a bag with material like spider silk, filled with bits of leaves and bark from the trees they’re feeding on. When a large group attacks a tree, their defoliation can be fatal to it.
Does the City of Rockville Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
The City of Rockville can’t directly help remove trees on private property, though, of course, the City is responsible for problems with trees in our parks, between sidewalks and streets, and other public spaces. If you see a fallen or dangerous tree on public property, you may request maintenance or report it to the City at 240-314-8700 or after hours at 240-314-8900. If a tree on private property appears to be at risk of causing damage to your property or may be a safety hazard, you may contact the Code Enforcement department for assistance.
Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in Rockville?
According to Maryland law, responsibility for removing a fallen tree generally depends on the tree’s condition. When healthy trees fall, it is usually considered an “act of God,” and responsibility for removing a fallen healthy tree lies with the person whose property it has fallen, regardless of whose property the tree grew on. When a tree is obviously damaged, diseased, or already dead, that tree’s owner must usually foot the bill for its removal.
If You’re a Homeowner?
Homeowners are generally liable for healthy trees that fall onto their property, even if they grew on a neighbor’s lot or public property. However, the situation changes if the person owning the tree knew it was in poor shape and did nothing or was attempting to restore an unhealthy tree but was still negligent about taking care of dead or dying limbs. In these cases, the tree’s owner is usually liable for its removal and any damages.
If You’re a Renter?
Renters are rarely responsible for tree removal on the property they rent — instead, the landlord is. Alerting your landlord to any tree problems you notice on the property you rent and neighboring lots can help prevent damage and help your landlord.
If You’re a Landlord?
Landlords are generally responsible for fallen trees just as homeowners are. Maintaining the trees on property you rent out helps make good landlord-tenant relations and protects your valuable investment.
If You’re a Neighbor?
If your neighbor’s healthy tree lands on your property during a storm, unfortunately, removing it usually is your responsibility. If, however, that tree was visibly unhealthy, your neighbor is likely on the hook instead. Maintaining the trees on your property and alerting your neighbors to dangerous trees on their property is a fine way to be a good neighbor.
How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Rockville?
Soil has three main components, silt, sand, and clay. Silt is grains of rock that help it hold moisture and drain well, sand encourages good drainage, and clay helps it hold together as well as keeping water and nutrients. In the right combination (about 40% silt, 40% sand, and 20% clay), a soil called loam is created, which is a nearly ideal soil for growing trees. Rockville’s soil is a silty loam, meaning it provides excellent conditions for trees to thrive.
Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Rockville?
Rockville’s weather is generally quite promising for healthy tree growth. While severe storms in summer can pack some damaging winds and winter’s snow and ice can weigh down branches, the frequency they cause damage to trees is low. Drought and flooding are also unlikely to cause substantial tree damage around Rockville.
What if Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Rockville?
Pepco maintains trees along their electric utility right-of-way, trimming and removing trees to minimize the risk of trees causing power outages. Homeowners are responsible for taking care of any trees that may affect service lines (between the pole and your house). If you see a tree falling on power lines, you should call Pepco’s emergency line, 1-877-737-2662.
How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Rockville?
Many homeowners live with dead or dying trees on their property, fearing that the cost of their removal will be too high. If that is your concern, you’ll probably be pleased to know the cost of tree removal in Rockville runs, on average, from about $550 to about $750. Of course, many aspects of a tree’s removal can affect how much it costs, and some jobs can cost more than double the average. Some of the elements which commonly influence costs include:
Size and Accessibility of Tree
As you’d probably expect, smaller trees are generally less expensive to remove, and larger trees will usually cost more to remove. Trees with split trunks, complicated branch structures, or other physical characteristics that make it more challenging for our arborists to take them down will likely also add to the expense of tree removal. The location of a tree can also affect the cost of removing it. When we take a tree down, we must be careful of your home, garage, swimming pool, other trees, other parts of your property, utility lines, and, of course, your neighbors’ properties. The more obstacles we need to protect and the harder it is to get to the tree, the more it may cost.
Additional Equipment and Services
Some tree removals require a bucket truck or other specialized equipment, which can add to their cost. In addition, many homeowners choose to have additional work done with their tree removal jobs, such as log splitting, limb chipping, stump grinding, and other tasks. Selecting any of these added services can also add to the price you’ll pay for tree removal.
Permits and Other Expenses
In Rockville, homeowners can generally remove trees on private property without a permit. If you live in a historic area, such as West Montgomery Avenue, New Mark Commons, or the Courthouse district, a permit may be required to remove a tree, and you may be required to replant a tree. A permit may also be required for trees on HOA properties, depending on the approval of the HOA. Any permits that are needed may add to the cost of tree removal. If we need a more extensive work crew, or if your tree removal must occur outside of standard working hours, its price may also be higher.