Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Falmouth?
- 2 Does the City of Falmouth Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
- 3 Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in Falmouth?
- 4 How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Falmouth?
- 5 Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Falmouth?
- 6 What If Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Falmouth?
- 7 How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Falmouth?
What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Falmouth?
Maine has a lot of forests, and all the issues with wildfires, pests, and sickness that come with that. Here in Falmouth, as part of the Portland Metropolitan Area, we also have all the issues that urban life presents, such as pollution and vandalism, or damage from development or accidents.
One serious concern for all of Maine is the White Pine Blister Rust. This fungus is a serious blight on the Eastern White Pine, our official state tree. Also preying on other needle pines and spreading through bushes like gooseberries and currants, the disease can quickly damage pines beyond repair. Beginning with cankered areas, the fungus can kill younger trees very quickly and wear down older trees over years. There’s often no way to deal with the disease other than removing infected trees so the spores can’t spread to others.
Does the City of Falmouth Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
The Greater Portland area puts a major emphasis on cultivating a rich environment of urban forestry, particularly on city property, but unfortunately, doesn’t provide any assistance for the removal of trees from private property. Here in Falmouth though, the city ordinance mandates the continued maintenance and prompt removal of any dead trees. Problem trees, particularly those that are dead or threatening to fall, should be dealt with promptly and not procrastinate to avoid running afoul of regulations.
Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in Falmouth?
Under Maine law, the owner of the tree is responsible for its maintenance and removal when necessary. This means that even if the tree falls across property lines, it’s still the responsibility of the owner of the land on which it originally grew.
Tree law can be incredibly complicated and have many exceptions, such as when trees grow on property lines themselves and so ownership of the specific tree is in dispute. Fallen trees that cause damage are typically considered a no-fault incident for the purposes of insurance and liability, except in cases where the owner of the tree had reason to believe or had been notified that the tree was a falling risk.
If you’re a homeowner?
If you’re a homeowner, your trees are a feature of your property that can potentially boost the value and appeal of your investment. Trees do come with responsibilities in addition to their many benefits though. You are responsible for maintaining and, when necessary, removing your trees. This will leave you liable for the cost of removal, though for serious tree removal jobs your homeowner’s insurance could potentially cover removal.
If you’re a renter?
If you’re a tenant here in Falmouth, it’s likely that your landlord and not you are responsible for tree maintenance and removal. Most rental agreements, do in fact, stipulate that the tenant is responsible for lawn care, but this seldom applies to trees on the property. Trees are a lot more permanent than grass and they are often viewed as a feature of the property rather than a basic upkeep responsibility. Unless your lease agreement specifically says otherwise, your responsibility for a fallen tree is likely to inform your landlord and coordinate with them for removal.
If your landlord fails to remove fallen trees in a timely manner after you’ve notified them, they may be violating your renter’s rights. Your landlord is required to provide reasonable upkeep of a property you rent, and if a fallen tree is a significant nuisance, failure to remove it may mean they’re not living up to their legal responsibilities as a landlord.
If you’re a landlord?
If you lease out a property in Falmouth, you are probably still responsible for maintaining trees and removing dead ones. Though your tenants typically handle the lawn care on a rental property, your trees are a bit different. Trees directly influence the long-term value of your property and probably shouldn’t be left in the hands of someone who has no long-term interest in your investment property. Even if you are an absentee landlord, you should maintain some level of control over the important features of your property.
If tenants report a fallen tree to you on your property, make arrangements with us to have it removed as quickly as possible. Fallen trees can attract pests and diseases to other trees as their health deteriorates on the ground and they can be a significant safety risk and nuisance. Quick removal will avoid you running afoul of Falmouth Code Enforcement or any HOA or subdivision rules that govern your land. In a pinch, you could ask a tenant to arrange for the removal of a tree and compensate them for the trouble, but that is still handing over a lot of responsibility that could drastically affect your property to someone who’s not vested in your property.
If you’re a neighbor?
If a neighbor has a tree that falls onto your property, it’s still their responsibility to remove the tree. Communicate with the neighbor and see how you can resolve the situation. If you have to remove the fallen tree, the owner would at the least owe you compensation for your effort. Even if a tree hasn’t fallen across your property, the owner of the tree is still likely obligated to remove it if the fallen tree is a nuisance to you and your property. If you’re unable to resolve the issue with your neighbor, reach out to Falmouth Community Development and see what options are available to you.
How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Falmouth?
Here in Maine, we have incredibly unique soil across the state. As recently as 10,000 years ago, glaciers covered the entire state. As these mountains of ice receded, they left rich soils composed of silt, clay, and decaying organic material. These conditions have given us the fertile soil that produces Maine’s many lush forests that have made Maine a key component of the timber industry for centuries.
The soil here in Falmouth is a little different than up north where Maine’s official soil, Chesuncook, covers much of the landscape. Our soil around the Portland area tends to be composed of rich, sandy loam. This soil is great for growing trees, but the fine particles in it do have disadvantages on occasion. During periods of intense rain, the clay in these soils can expand, shifting the earth around it. As the clay dries, it contracts again, which can lead to damaged roots and trunks on trees. Over time, this can erode ground, potentially leaving roots exposed and exposed to damage and infection.
Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Falmouth?
Weather in Falmouth can affect trees in many ways. Seasonal weather has wild swings here, with summers commonly approaching 90 degrees and winters occasionally venturing below zero. This range of temperatures can quickly exploit any weaknesses or vulnerability in trees, often escalating disease or damage quickly.
Persistent moisture from steady light rain and fog can also erode soil and potentially disrupt tree roots and threaten the stability of trees. This is complicated by the fine particles in the soil. Trees on slopes, in particular, may need extra landscaping attention and maintenance to prevent damage from erosion.
What If Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Falmouth?
Thanks to the dedicated arborists of Central Maine Power’s Tree Care Program, dead trees and overhanging branches on power lines should be very occasional occurrences. The power company employs skilled arborists that work their way through thousands of miles of power lines a year to prune and remove trees that threaten risky breaches in the power infrastructure. Even with their prolific work of trimming trees in the area, however, they only make it through about once every 5 years in any given place. If you have dead trees getting close to lines, don’t wait for them to come back around — call the electric utility today.
It is incredibly important that you don’t try to trim trees around power lines yourself. Branches crossing or trees falling on transmission lines or transformers can be disastrous for nearby trees and houses, and can potentially start major fires that could cause massive damage and be difficult to maintain. When dead trees pose a risk to power infrastructure, your first and immediate call should always be to the utility company that has specially trained technicians to deal with this issue.
How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Falmouth?
Tree removal costs in Falmouth can commonly run a fair bit beneath the national average. Our state is famous for its beautiful trees and timber industry after all. Tree removal can cost as little as $300 around here, but there are several factors that could alter the base price of services and bring your total up to over $1,500.
Big trees can be a lot of work to remove for several reasons. Not only are they more waste to deal with, but their size can be a safety risk for our arborists and require a lot of planning to execute an efficient and safe removal. Planning takes time and effort but is an essential step towards the removal of big trees that could potentially damage nearby buildings or other trees.
Even if a tree is dead, its health can still affect the cost of removing it. Rotted trees will have structural weaknesses that will need to be accounted for in a removal plan and diseased trees could potentially spread sickness to other plants and may need to be quarantined.
Trees that are in tight quarters can get more costly to remove as well. Trees that are growing near others can be tough for us to get to and a logistical challenge for us to remove without hurting the other nearby trees. Likewise, trees near houses will pose a challenge to the safe removal and may take more time and tools.