Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Suffolk County?
- 2 Does Suffolk County Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
- 3 Who Is Responsible for Fallen Tree Removal in Suffolk County?
- 4 How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Suffolk County?
- 5 Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Suffolk County?
- 6 What if Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Suffolk County?
- 7 How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Suffolk County?
What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Suffolk County?
Whether you’re new to Suffolk County or have spent a lifetime here, you’ll have discovered the beauty and elegance our beloved trees bring to every corner of the county. From the Sunken Forest of Fire Island to the huge beech tree famously moved (rather than cut down) for construction of the East Hampton Library’s children’s wing, we love our trees. The attention and care so many Suffolk County residents lavish on trees and landscaping means that most of our trees are well-cared for, and threats from outside influences, rather than neglect or poor treatment, are the most common issues they face.
Every year, especially as we reach late summer and early autumn, preparations are made for coming storms that will hit the Atlantic coast. Hurricanes, tropical storms, and the winds and storm tides that accompany them can all spell trouble for our trees. As these storms wreak havoc across Suffolk County, they can also pull limbs off of and down whole trees. Trimming and pruning trees can encourage strong growth which can help protect them, but any tree can be susceptible to storm damage.
Dutch Elm Disease first arrived in the United States in the 1930s and was one of the first tree diseases to catch the public’s attention. Rapidly spreading, it decimated the elms that turned the streets of thousands of American towns into shady thoroughfares. We are lucky, in our area, to benefit from the efforts of the Ladies Village Improvement Society, who work on behalf of so many trees in Suffolk County and have saved many of our lovely elm trees, too. Another threat to our beloved red oaks on Long Island is oak wilt, which can cause infected trees to die rapidly by blocking the transmission of water through the sapwood.
Not only do diseases threaten our trees, but many non-native insect pests can cause severe, widespread damage. Some of the more common insects that prey on our Suffolk County trees include:
- Emerald Ash Borer – First detected in Michigan in 2002, this very destructive beetle has no known predators here and can kill off many ash trees within 10 years of infestation.
- Gypsy Moth – Brought to Massachusetts in the late 19th century in an attempt to strengthen the domestic silk industry, the gypsy moth has grown to be one of the most destructive to trees, feeding on (and killing) over 500 species of hardwood trees and rapidly spreading into new territory.
- Spotted Lanternfly – One of the more recent insect pests to reach our shores, the spotted lanternfly feeds on fruit trees as well as some pines and hardwoods, damaging and weakening trees, making them more susceptible to other infections and infestations.
Does Suffolk County Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
Many towns and villages across Suffolk County have enacted tree protection ordinances to ensure our landmark trees remain for future generations. The ordinances also ensure that new trees are added to our towns and landscapes to replace those we lose to necessity and natural causes. The Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) also works with a tree maintenance plan on a four- to five-year cycle, to help prevent problems with electrical lines. They also offer assistance with the removal of healthy trees (or parts of trees) within ten feet of primary or secondary wires, removing the parts of the tree in the zone close to wires, so you can arrange for the remainder of the work with our arborists at Tree Triage.
Who Is Responsible for Fallen Tree Removal in Suffolk County?
In general, New York law specifies that the person on whose property a tree fell is normally responsible for its removal and any damages it may have caused, even if the tree grew on a neighbor’s property. This can change, however, if the tree was unhealthy, dying, or already dead. If the owner of the fallen tree was aware of its poor condition, then he or she is generally responsible. In fact, if proof exists that the owner knew the tree was a hazard but neglected to take action, their insurance company may refuse to pay any claims related to the fallen tree.
If you’re a homeowner?
As we mentioned, if a healthy tree falls on your property, you are generally responsible for it, even if it’s your neighbor’s tree. If it’s a diseased, damaged, or dead tree, the tree’s owner is most often liable for it, instead.
If you’re a renter?
Unless your lease states otherwise, your landlord is normally responsible (or not responsible) under the same conditions that homeowners are. You can help your landlord by keeping an eye on the trees on your property and neighboring lots and alerting your landlord if you notice any issues.
If you’re a landlord?
As property owners, landlords are normally responsible for trees following the same patterns that guide homeowners’ responsibility. Proper tree maintenance can help make for good tenant-landlord relations.
If you’re a neighbor?
In general, if your neighbor’s healthy tree falls on your property, it is considered an “act of God” and you (and your insurance company) are responsible for removing it. If your neighbor’s tree was clearly unhealthy or dead when it falls, they are probably responsible for its removal and any related damages.
How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Suffolk County?
The mature and stately trees that shade our streets, parks, and lawns, and thrive despite the many storms, pay tribute to our soil’s ability to encourage good root growth. Soils are generally made up of different amounts of three components: sand (for drainage), silt (for moisture retention and root space), and clay (for moisture retention and nutrients). When nearly equal amounts of silt and sand combine with a little bit of clay, we get a soil called loam, which is ideal for most plants and trees. Of course, our coastal location means that our soil tends to have a greater sandiness than ideal loam. Brookhaven, Riverhead, Huntington, Babylon, and Southold areas primarily have loamy sand soil, which is a favorite for many species of oak tree, as well as beeches and sugar maples. From about Smithtown to the Shinnecock Canal, a central swath of Suffolk County has loamy sand soil or even a higher sand content, making it a good area for pitch pine, white pine, and scrub oak. South Fork is unique in Suffolk County, with a more silty loam, offering good soil for many hardwoods, including oaks, sugar maples, ashes, beeches, and poplars. All in all, except for beach zones and the sandy marshes running from Fire Island to Napeague, Suffolk County is a paradise for trees, offering moist, loamy soil that trees can really take root in.
Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Suffolk County?
In general, our temperate weather and continental climate mean pleasant conditions for those who live here and for the many trees which grace our streets and neighborhoods. Most of the time, growing conditions are excellent for countless varieties of both hardwood and evergreen species. We love our trees, too, so much so, that they are part of our local lore, from Admiral Perry’s Japanese maples in Sag Harbor to the much-missed, ancient white oak on Lubber Street in Stony Brook. Sometimes, however, the weather can be detrimental to our trees. Despite being surrounded by water, Suffolk County has suffered drought conditions at times. Even for an old, well-established tree, the strain of surviving a drought can make it more vulnerable to damage by diseases and insect pests. If the problem isn’t too little rain, it can be too much of it, along with the strong winds of hurricanes and tropical storms. These forces can erode the soil around roots, soften the ground in which they grow, and make trees more vulnerable to those gusting winds.
What if Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Suffolk County?
If you notice dead trees near or in contact with power lines, you should contact the Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) to report them. While the utility makes every effort to address potential hazards regularly, maintenance runs on a four- to five-year cycle, so a tree that has died between visits may not have been identified yet.
How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Suffolk County?
Tree removal can be a relatively straightforward task or a very complex one, depending on the tree and the situation. In general, though, Suffolk County residents can expect to pay an average of $850 for standing tree removal on their properties. Trees that have already fallen will usually cost well below average to remove, while larger trees will cost significantly more. Some common factors that can affect the cost of such a job include:
Size & Location of the Tree
As a rule, the smaller the tree, the smaller the cost to remove it and vice versa; the larger the tree, the larger the cost to remove it. While not every tree removal will fall into this pattern, it is true in most cases. More complex trees will generally cost more to remove, as will those that are hard for our crews to access due to terrain, structures, power lines, or other obstacles that must be worked around or protected from damage.
Permits & Other Expenses
Many of Suffolk County’s municipalities require permits for some tree removals, including Brookhaven and Huntington. Permitting costs will add to the overall expense of tree removal. Any replacement trees or other mitigation work may also add to the costs. If your tree removal requires us to engage specialized equipment, expenses can also increase.
Scope of Job & Additional Work
If a tree removal involves complicated terrain or if it is very close to your home, neighboring properties, outbuildings, landscaping, power lines, or other hazards, the extra care and time needed to remove the tree safely can affect pricing. If you request additional work such as log splitting, limb chipping, stump removal, and grinding, or other jobs that require additional labor, costs may also increase.