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?
While the summers are hot and muggy (and the winters are cold and windy), it’s still an enjoyable experience living in Columbia. One of the joys here is the city truly cares about trees in every neighborhood.
During 2021’s Arbor Day, Columbia Parks and Recreation and the TreeKeepers volunteer group put together a drive-thru tree giveaway for free. It proved the city wants its residents to take care of the trees we have and plant new ones when aging trees become impossible to save.
The tree species that thrive the best here include catalpa, paw paw, red maple, short leaf pine, and the Eastern wahoo. Each one brings color and other aesthetic beauty, yet they’re all susceptible to the worst aspects of nature.
Insects that continue to kill trees in local Columbia neighborhoods include the Asian longhorned beetle, the emerald ash borer, and the gypsy moth. Many of the beetles mentioned come from Asia and feed on any hardwood tree they can find.
Common diseases afflicting our trees include oak wilt, hypoxylon canker, and thousand cankers disease. As much as we try to fight these natural issues, it’s sometimes impossible to control, even with the best tree care.
Human beings also pose a problem for trees, merely by running cars into tree trunks or digging holes around large trees with vast root systems.
Does the City of Columbia Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
Columbia takes their local trees seriously and created a special city ordinance for proper care. They ensure the Public Works Department, the Water & Light Department, and the Parks & Recreation Department all work together to investigate and take care of any problem trees in the area.
It’s the city arborist or city forester that investigates a tree report by someone claiming a hazard to property or life. This often happens when a tree on city property appears close to toppling over due to storms or disease.
All analysis goes by whether the tree might also be a threat to local utility lines or simply can’t be saved by general pruning. Approval is still needed, though, since attempting to remove a city tree without permission is considered a criminal act.
Management of all trees is supervised by the city manager, with the final word on what happens to all city trees. Any appeals to a decision toward a tree removal go to the city manager who ultimately chooses to uphold or change a decision.
Once in a while, Columbia Water & Light contacts residents about cutting down or trimming their trees if posing a risk to the utility’s power lines. The utility contacts residents two to three weeks prior to any tree work being done.
Who Is Responsible for Fallen Tree Removal in Columbia?
Those who own properties have different responsibilities for tree removal. There are some exceptions based on local laws and even where property lines are placed.
As a homeowner, renter, landlord, or nearby neighbor, what should one do if a tree falls? Take a look at what local city ordinances and state laws require:
If you’re a homeowner?
Taking care of one’s yard on private property is not enforceable by law, even if it might mean a request by the city if a tree becomes dangerous. Not caring for trees is going to inevitably mean a tree becoming diseased or dying. It could pose a danger for others, if maybe just falling on the homeowner’s property.
If it falls on a resident’s property without causing damage, the homeowner is entirely responsible for paying for the cleanup. When the tree falls on the homeowner’s house or other structure, the only way to get damages covered is to go through a homeowners insurance policy.
State law also requires that if a tree exists directly on a property line, the property owners on either side need to agree with each other on paying for tree removal.
Working with neighbors has some potential legal complications we’ll cover in a bit.
If you’re a renter?
Those who rent here in Columbia need to read their leasing agreements to find out whether they’re truly responsible for a fallen tree. Perhaps the landlord states if the renter plants a new tree, the renter is responsible if the tree ever falls.
Overall, most renters here aren’t responsible for trees falling on the leased property. Landlords are essentially homeowners with their own maintenance responsibilities.
If you’re a landlord?
Again, a landlord has a homeowner responsibility in caring for trees on their property. It means putting in maintenance time, pruning or removing trees that may pose any type of risk.
No landlord wants to experience legal repercussions from ignoring diseased trees. Our tree care team works with landlords all the time to make sure trees on their property are always safe.
If you’re a neighbor?
Legal complications can occur when a neighbor has a tree falling on another neighbor’s property. A lawsuit could ensue if the neighbor warned the other neighbor about a diseased tree and nothing was done to repair or remove it. If it falls on the other neighbor’s home, suing for damages is more than possible.
Only if the tree was healthy and fell due to natural circumstances would the neighbor where the tree fell be responsible for cleaning up the debris. This might seem like an unfair law, yet it’s fairly common in most states. Using the act of God defense, however, can often lead to protracted lawsuits. A judge has to determine whether it was really nature at play or some sense of negligence.
Legal situations like this should always be avoided. Our tree care team works with residents all year long to ensure trees stay safe to avoid neighbor conflicts.
How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Columbia?
Every property owner should take time to study their soil to see whether it’s suitable for trees. Soil types can vary widely, sometimes within a city like Columbia.
According to Columbia’s soil survey, a prevalent soil seen here is Menfro Soil, which is also the official state soil. It’s mainly a silt loam, one of the best combinations of minerals for growing trees. These types have up to 80% silt and less than 12% clay.
Loess Soil is fairly typical around the Missouri River, making it unique to the U.S. Ordinarily, it’s found in Europe or China, yet still good for vegetation like trees.
Take time to study what the soil is since it only helps provide better ways to plan the right care for local trees. Making sure each soil type has proper organic materials and mulch during dry seasons is also important if the soil easily dries out.
Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Columbia?
Various natural disasters have been declared in Columbia and Boone County over the decades. The biggest weather threats here are tornadoes brought by severe thunderstorms. Second to this is usually flooding, followed by occasional large-size hail.
These can all harm trees severely, no matter how much care they’ve been given beforehand. Tornadoes alone can wipe out a bevy of trees in mere minutes.
Flooding can also uproot trees already weakened from disease. And when hail hits, it can sometimes be big enough to cause damage to tree bark.
No one can control the weather. Yet, our crews can help toward keeping local trees healthy to keep them strong during the worst disasters. For instance, a stronger root system may help prevent a tree from going over in a moderate windstorm.
What if Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Columbia?
When tornadoes or other windstorms hit, Columbia’s local power utility (mainly Columbia Water & Light) frequently becomes overwhelmed with cleaning up tree debris. Doing work like this can become stressful, which is why we frequently partner with them to help out.
We frequently do this when overwhelming amounts of trees have fallen on power lines. Most people know this is dangerous work, yet some people try to remove tree branches from power lines on their own.
No one should ever attempt this under any circumstances. Risks are numerous, especially if not communicating with the power company on whether the power is safely off. Our crews always make sure the power is off before we do any tree removal work.
Occasionally, we’ll work with the city if a city tree falls on the lines. Boone Electric Cooperative is an alternative power utility that we sometimes work with as well in outlying areas.
How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Columbia?
It’s often more than weather affecting what someone pays for tree removal. So many factors are involved that there isn’t any set way to predict what the final bill usually is.
Most residents here can expect to pay an average of $552. On the lower end, one might pay only $168 for simple tree removal. On the high end, expect to pay as high as $1,937 or more.
Other situations can affect this price range:
Older trees are often higher than some buildings. A tree that goes as high as 100 feet could take the cost up to $2,500. A tree under 15 feet could cost as low as $170.
Some trees in the city go back more than 100 years, meaning the trunk diameter could be the size of a midsize car. Trying to cut this down is a big job and usually done separately, after the initial tree debris is hauled away.
All trunk diameters are measured at chest height. An overly thick trunk may take an extra day of work, increasing labor time charges.
Cutting up the branches or trunk of the tree into wood chips can also cost an additional $100 or more, depending on the work time. One useful thing about chipping tree branches is how useful it is as mulch to help grow more trees.