Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are The Most Common Tree Issues In Rochester?
- 2 Does The City of Rochester Provide Any Assistance In Tree Removal Problems?
- 3 Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal In Rochester?
- 4 How Does The Soil Affect Trees In Rochester?
- 5 Does Weather Affect Tree Health In Rochester?
- 6 What If Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines In Rochester?
- 7 How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Rochester?
What Are The Most Common Tree Issues In Rochester?
The tree-lined streets and forested parks of Rochester are a point of pride and have been an integral part of Rochester’s identity since its founding. According to Rochester’s Urban Forest Master Plan: City in a Forest, Third Edition, the verdant urban forest of Rochester features a wide variety of arboreal species, from red, black, and white oaks to red and sugar maples, elms, beeches, and poplars, among many others. With so many trees in the area, it is no surprise that many factors affect tree health and stability. Diseases, parasites, extreme weather, and human influence are significant contributors to tree issues in Rochester.
Diseases and Fungi
In the 1950s, Rochester was home to thousands of American elms. The elm population was significantly affected by Dutch elm disease, and many trees died, or residents culled them to prevent further spread of the disease. The crisis left a legacy of care and resulted in a much more diversified urban forest. Planners realized that a concentrated population of one specific tree could cause the same quick spread of other deadly arboreal diseases. With a broader assortment of plants, the widespread disease is less prominent; however, it is essential to be aware of diseases and fungi to watch for in Rochester. The three most common conditions that affect trees in the area are Oak Wilt, Oak Leaf Blister, and Sooty Mold.
Pests and Parasites
While aphids, beetles, and other pests are common across the U.S. and Canada, various insects are particularly troublesome for the trees in the Rochester area. Several creatures specifically target trees endemic to the region, including hemlock wooly adelgids, emerald ash borers, and Asian long-horned beetles.
From construction projects and utility installations to pollution, stress, and lack of space, human activity plays a prominent role in tree health. Developers often remove trees during construction, and they plant them in areas that may not afford sufficient space for them to thrive. According to the Urban Forest Master Plan: City in a Forest, Third Edition, more than 50 percent of street trees in Rochester’s street reconstruction projects die within five years of being planted. The encroachment of utility easements, power lines, and overhead communication equipment further exacerbates the high mortality rate. Vandalism, motor vehicle exhaust fumes, and deicing salts can also contribute to tree death in Rochester. Add the stress of pedestrian and vehicle traffic and heat generated by city surfaces, and you will find that trees otherwise well-suited to the soil and climate of Rochester have difficulty surviving.
Does The City of Rochester Provide Any Assistance In Tree Removal Problems?
The City of Rochester maintains approximately 70,000 trees along city streets, parks, and cemeteries. The City is responsible for the maintenance and removal of these trees. The City of Rochester will only wholly remove a City tree if the tree is a hazard to public safety due to damage or disease, if the tree has a condition that may spread to other trees, or if tree maintenance is greater than the value of the tree. They may also remove a City tree if the management of the tree will not extend the life of the tree for more than five years.
If you believe a tree on public property requires maintenance due to low limbs, dead wood, overhanging branches that threaten buildings, or branches that block traffic signs, signals, or streetlights, contact the City to request an inspection.
Trees greater than 6 inches in diameter are protected by the City of Rochester, even on private property. If you plan to remove a tree from your property, request a permit from the City of Rochester. You may be exempt from obtaining a permit if:
- You occupy a single-family parcel that is less than an acre.
- Your property is the site of a tree farm, nursery, or agricultural business. This guideline applies only to commercial trees, not naturally occurring trees on the property.
- You are moving or removing the tree at the request of the City.
- The tree is dead, diseased, or damaged. For live trees, this caveat applies only if the tree will die within two years if left standing.
Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal In Rochester?
If a City tree falls in Rochester, the City is responsible for tree removal. This requirement includes city right-of-way areas, parks, and cemeteries. This responsibility extends to trees within the City of Rochester but does not include Ontario Beach Park, Durand Eastman Park, Highland Park, Genesee Valley Park East, and Seneca Park. These parks are classified as County Parks and are therefore the responsibility of the County of Monroe.
If you’re a homeowner?
In Rochester, you as the homeowner are responsible for trimming or removing any damaged or rotting trees as soon as you become aware of the problem. It is essential to regularly inspect your trees for potential issues, especially if they can encroach on a neighbor’s property, city property, or utility easement. If a tree on your property presents a hazard to public safety, whether from dead branches, structural insufficiency, or disease, the City of Rochester Ordinances state that the City Forester may order you to have the tree removed at your own cost. If you do not remove the tree within the specified time, the Forester may remove the tree and bill you for the removal.
If you’re a renter?
The renter’s responsibility for landscaping depends mainly on the lease terms. Even if the renter’s responsibility includes general landscape maintenance, the terms may not specifically address tree trimming. Removal of a large branch or entire tree is generally considered property maintenance and is, therefore, the landlord’s responsibility.
If you’re a landlord?
As a landlord who owns the property, your responsibilities are the same as an occupying homeowner. Even if your lease agreement indicates that the renter is responsible for general landscaping, removing dangerous branches, dead material, and whole trees is typically the landlord’s responsibility.
If you’re a neighbor?
If your property has a rooted tree, you may have the right to remove the tree safely with a permit. Suppose a rotted or damaged branch is hanging over your property, but the tree is rooted on public property or neighboring private property; you will need to seek permission to either remove the branches or have the tree removed by the person or organization responsible for the property on which the tree is rooted. There are many legal concerns to consider when handling tree issues with a neighbor, so be sure to contact a legal expert or the City of Rochester before taking any action.
How Does The Soil Affect Trees In Rochester?
The type of soil your trees are planted in makes all the difference when it comes to arboreal health. In Rochester, the soil is primarily classified as urban soil or soil that has been affected by human activity. The texture of Rochester soil is mainly sand and clay, with an alkaline pH. Different trees thrive in different soil types, so it is crucial to evaluate the soil before planting to prevent dead or dying trees. Since the soil in Rochester is alkaline, it is essential to choose trees that do not prefer acidic soil.
In addition to the soil pH, you should consider the amount of sand, clay, loam, and rocky material. If your tree prefers loam, it will not flourish in clay or sand. You should also consider the moisture content and water gradient in the area. Too much water can be just as bad as too little, and your tree’s health can be compromised if exposed to the wrong soil saturation for long periods.
If you are unsure whether your tree is in the right place, contact Cornell University’s Monroe County office to request a soil testing kit. Armed with this information, you can determine whether an existing or future tree will thrive in its current soil. If one of your trees is in the wrong type of soil, you may be able to obtain a permit from the City to relocate it to an area on your property with a more suitable soil composition.
Does Weather Affect Tree Health In Rochester?
According to the National Weather Service, Rochester is in a humid continental climate with an average temperature of 47°F. Annual rainfall of 34 inches and 93 inches of snowfall make the environment excellent for a wide variety of trees. The area is prone to storms at any time of year, and anything from snow and ice to gusty thunderstorms can damage and fell trees. A severe ice storm in 1991 resulted in the loss of more than 14,000 City trees in Rochester. Frequent wind storms can be equally damaging to trees across the region. Strong winds up to 60mph can uproot trees and break limbs, causing harm not only to the trees themselves but to surrounding trees, property, and utilities.
In addition to extreme weather events, trees can experience stress caused by high temperatures and insufficient rainfall. Stressed trees are more prone to disease and pests and can decline quickly. Maple decline is one of the more prevalent issues facing trees in the Rochester area and affects all species of maple trees, including Norway Maples, Sugar Maples, and Red Maples. Signs of maple decline include reddening and yellowing of foliage earlier in the year, as well as a thinning crown.
What If Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines In Rochester?
Dead tree limbs and even whole trees can fall onto power and communication lines, resulting in significant disturbances. New York’s Department of Public Service provides oversight of the electric grid through the Public Service Commission. Companies that offer utility services are required to maintain vegetation in utility easements. Rochester Gas and Electric handles the electric grid in Rochester and the surrounding area, so if you notice dead trees or limbs near power lines, contact RG&E at 1-800-743-2110.
How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Rochester?
Most homeowners in the Rochester area spend to trim or remove trees and shrubs on their property and cost can range between $490 and $650.
Tree Type and Size
Every type of tree has different characteristics that affect tree removal. Tree size, thickness, and the number of branches play a large part and the thickness of the bark and wood hardness. Expect to pay more to remove larger trees with sweeping branches and hardwood, such as oaks, maples, and ashes. Smaller trees such as crabapples, apple trees, and cherry trees may cost less, provided they are in an accessible location.
Accessibility is an important consideration when quoting tree removal. Trees that pose a danger to utility lines, homes, or public thoroughfares require additional equipment and attention. As our workers remove branches and sections of the trunk, it is essential to ensure the safety of individuals and property, and that can mean incorporating cranes and other equipment to control their motion.
If you would like the stump of the tree removed, plan to pay a higher amount than the introductory tree removal price. Stump removal is a highly involved process that requires specialized digging and cutting equipment. Once our workers have removed the stump, you may also have to pay for the cost of adding soil and sod to the evacuated space.