What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Missoula?
Missoula, MT is nicknamed “The Garden City” and truly lives up to that nickname. Even though the valley floor of Missoula is not ideal for trees, the Urban Forestry Division has worked hard to grow and maintain beautiful trees. There are difficulties to maintaining this urban forest, such as insects and disease, climate, and no real soil base to provide nutrients.
Climate: Missoula has a cold semi-arid climate, which leads to warmer temperatures in the summer, and colder, usually freezing, temperatures in the winter. During the summer, the average high in Missoula is 85 degrees, and during the winter, the average low is 18 degrees.
Soil: One of the most difficult problems trees face in Missoula is the lack of nutrient-rich soil with no soil base. This is due to the fact that Missoula was built over a flat valley floor with very little soil covering a deep, gravelly bed. Because of this, the soil does not have adequate nutrients, nor does it retain water well. Both of these are important for growing trees that will continue to thrive.
Does the City of Missoula Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
The City of Missoula very clearly states that they are only responsible for trees that are owned by the city. For trees that are a danger to power lines or other critical infrastructure, you can contact either Parks and Recreation or Northwestern Energy, depending on if it is a city-owned tree or a tree located on your property. Additionally, any tree removal requires a permit through the city, even if it is on your property.
Who Is Responsible for Fallen Tree Removal in Missoula?
If a tree falls and needs to be removed, it may not always be clear who is responsible. If your tree fell into your neighbors’ yard or a city street, who is responsible? If your neighbor’s tree or one owned by the city falls on your property, who is responsible? For rental properties, is the renter responsible or the landlord? Let’s take a look.
If you’re a homeowner?
No matter where it came from, if a tree falls in your yard, you are responsible for removing it in most cases. If a tree from your property falls onto a city street, you can contact the city for a list of certified arborists, but it is still your responsibility. Additionally, if your tree fell due to disease or it was already dead and you were aware of that, it is your responsibility to remove it, no matter where it falls, and most of the time your homeowner’s insurance will not pay for removal if they can prove negligence. If your tree falls into your neighbor’s yard, it will likely not be your responsibility, unless you were negligent. However, Missoula is big on personal responsibility, so it would likely benefit you to offer assistance to your neighbor to prevent any conflict.
If you’re a renter?
In most situations, If you are renting your home, it is not your responsibility to remove a fallen tree. You do need to call your landlord as soon as possible if a tree falls on the house, anywhere else on the property, or on someone else’s property. You should check your lease and make sure you did not previously agree to be responsible for the removal of any fallen trees. In most cases, renters’ insurance will cover costs to personal property that are associated with damage from the tree. However, if you are responsible for the tree falling, not only is your renter’s insurance unlikely to pay for any damages, but it is also highly likely your landlord will expect you to pay for the damages and/or removal of the tree.
If you’re a landlord?
Because you are the owner of the property–similar to a homeowner–you are responsible for removing any fallen trees. You should work with your renter and/or the city, if needed, to assess damages and facilitate removal in a timely fashion. If you discover that the tree fell due to something your renter did, and you are able to prove this, you are usually within your rights to require that the renter pays for the removal of the tree as well as any damages it caused.
If you’re a neighbor?
The majority of the time, if a tree falls on your property, no matter where it came from, you are responsible for having the tree removed. Most of the time, however, your homeowner’s policy will cover the costs of removal and any damage. If you are able to prove your neighbor knew the tree was dangerous and failed to do anything about it, then the responsibility will be on your neighbor. If you are concerned about any trees on your neighbor’s property, it is a good idea to discuss these concerns when you notice them to possibly prevent the tree from causing damage. However, they are not required to remove it unless there is something wrong with the tree that makes it a danger.
How Does The Soil Affect Trees in Missoula?
The soil found in Missoula is composed of silt, sand, clay, and some loamy soils. The soils also have a wide range of how well they drain. For example, Grassvalley soils are well-drained and composed mostly of clay. Moiese soils are mostly composed of sand. Riverwash is generally poorly drained and is composed of silt, sand, clay, and gravel. In urban areas, the soil has been highly disturbed, and most of the soil has been covered in asphalt and concrete. This wide range of types of soil and characteristics makes it difficult to grow many trees, so it is highly recommended that you have your soil evaluated prior to planting any trees to ensure the best growth and sustainability.
Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Missoula?
An Interesting fact about the weather in Missoula is that it can be incredibly unpredictable in large part due to its location near Mount Sentinel and Mount Jumbo. It is also protected by the Continental Divide in the winter. Missoula sees an average of 14 inches of rain annually, which is more than many other areas in Montana, and an average of 37 inches of snow annually, which is also more than other areas in Montana. In fact, every month sees some form of precipitation in Missoula. This, in addition to the wide variance of temperatures, causes damage and desiccation due to freezing temperatures and sunscald, which occurs when the bark is warmed and softened by the sun, and then the temperature drops rapidly after sunset, killing the bark. Missoula can also have severe wind and thunderstorms, both of which can be devastating to trees.
What If Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Missoula?
Dead trees near power lines are potentially very dangerous, and you should not attempt to remove them on your own. Because Missoula can see a lot of wind and other severe storms, downed trees and tree branches on power lines can be an unfortunate occurrence. According to the City of Missoula, you should contact Northwestern Energy for any trees or branches near power lines. They not only trim trees on a regular schedule, but they can also assist with removal if a tree is affecting a power line. Depending on where the tree that needs to be removed is located, it may not be able to be replaced. Northwestern Energy, along with the City of Missoula, will do its best to communicate this to you prior to removing a tree, unless it needs to be removed on an emergent basis for public safety.
How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Missoula?
Tree removal is not a clear-cut, standard process, and there are different factors that need to be considered. Because of this, there are generally not any set prices. In Missoula, on average, it can cost between $300 and $1,240 to remove the tree. Your homeowner’s insurance may cover some or all of the cost, usually minus your deductible. This depends on the reason for removing the tree. Because the City of Missoula requires a permit for all tree removals, this will likely add to the cost of removal.
Size of Tree
Trees that are taller and wider carry a higher cost to remove. Because bigger trees require more time and resources, the costs increase with the size of your tree. Our expert tree trimmers typically employ a cut from the top-down method, particularly for taller trees. As the name might suggest, this involves cutting sections of the tree starting at the top and working down. This process generally requires multiple people and is not a quick process, but it is definitely the safer option
It is generally easier to remove a tree, particularly if there are no other houses or buildings nearby, in a more rural area. However, Missoula is growing quickly, and many areas are becoming very dense. Due to this, more caution and planning are needed before removing trees. This process requires more time, resources, and people, and this, therefore, increases the expense of tree removal.
In Missoula, permits are required before you remove a tree and before you plant a tree. Unfortunately, the City of Missoula does not specify how much these permits cost. In general, these types of permits can range from $20 to $150, depending on the size and location of your tree. It is also important to note that Missoula has to approve the type of tree you want to remove or trim, and the city also specifies the types of trees you can plant. Unless a tree is hazardous, certain trees may not be approved for removal since it can be difficult to replant them.