Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Norman?
- 2 Does the City of Norman Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
- 3 Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in Norman?
- 4 How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Norman?
- 5 Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Norman?
- 6 What if Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Norman?
- 7 How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Norman?
What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Norman?
Norman’s rich, loamy soil is ideal for growing a wide range of beautiful trees, including native species like the Bur Oak, Eastern Red Cedar, and several pine tree varieties. One of Norman’s most popular and distinctive trees is the Eastern Redbud, our official state tree and one of the first trees to bloom after winter. The sight of those fragrant, purple-red flowers means that spring has truly sprung and that many other trees will begin flowering soon.
Norman’s trees are a vital asset for the city, but they need regular maintenance to stay free of the pests or diseases that can affect them. Our location in Central Oklahoma also means that severe weather is a fact of life, including droughts, ice storms, and even the occasional tornado. Take a look at the most common issues that might happen with trees on your property.
Pests and Diseases
Pests are one of the most severe threats to Norman’s trees, especially if they’re not native to Oklahoma. Non-native insects don’t have any natural predators in our environment, which means they can infest trees, unchecked at an alarming rate. For example, oak trees and Aspens are especially susceptible to the European Gypsy Moth, which has a truly voracious appetite. The babies of this pest can chomp their way through every single leaf on the tree’s canopy in a pretty short time. In addition, defoliated trees are extremely weakened and vulnerable to a wide range of potentially fatal tree diseases, including anthracnose and powdery mildew.
Norman’s pine trees are under siege from an even more dangerous pest called the Sirex Woodwasp. This European native was spotted on American soil for the first time in 2004 and has since made its way to Oklahoma. Woodwasps will not only eat the tree from the inside out, but they also secrete a toxic fungus that decays the wood and makes it easier to digest. Without treatment, trees affected by this invasive pest can die in as little as 16 months.
Depending on the seriousness of the issue and pest or disease causing the problem, our certified arborists can restore trees to health with medicated sprays and injections. In some cases, trimming away all the diseased branches will be enough to stop the problem and encourage some healthy new growth. The most serious pests and tree diseases will progress to where your tree’s likely to collapse from strong winds or heavy ice. In general, structurally compromised trees are terrible news with Oklahoma’s extreme weather. This would be one of the situations when trees should be removed sooner rather than later.
In 2020, we had a powerful ice storm very early in the season that surprised many Oklahomans. Unfortunately, it also downed thousands of trees, many of which fell on power lines and led to Norman’s widespread outages. While there’s no way to control the weather, there are some practical methods for protecting your trees in the wintertime. Getting them trimmed by our professional arborists is the best way to lower the risk of major ice storm damage. We focus on selectively thinning out the upper part of the canopy to reduce weight, which helps trees withstand the assault of wind, freezing rain, sleet, and ice. Removing the weak and overgrown limbs that are most at risk of getting blown away is also crucial to avoid expensive repairs. An ice-covered limb can do quite a bit of damage while crash landing on your home or vehicle!
In the aftermath of any big storm, our arborists also help Norman homeowners assess any damaged trees. In many cases, it’s possible to rehabilitate the tree and nurse it back to complete health. However, there are also situations where we have to be realistic about the tree’s ability to bounce back, especially if there was a significant amount of bark ripped off from the trunk. In addition, pests and diseases are incredibly opportunistic, and they’re very likely to attack and ravage a storm-damaged tree.
Even a perfectly healthy tree can cause all kinds of problems simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Tree branches can block streetlights, interfere with power lines or scrape up against your home’s siding. Tree roots can get tangled up with sewer pipes or break through an asphalt walkway to create a potential tripping hazard. Large trees with aggressive root systems are notorious for causing foundation damage by displacing the surrounding soil or even growing into cracks in the cement. If you have a large tree planted within 10 feet of your home, many foundation specialists will give you stern advice to have it removed.
Does the City of Norman Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
Norman’s Forestry Department does take care of trimming or removing any “street trees” that may be causing a hazard in the public right of way. This can include trees that are visibly diseased and likely to collapse or trees with low-hanging branches blocking walkways. Residents can report these kinds of tree issues by using an online form, and there’s even an option for attaching a picture of the problem.
Problematic trees on private property are the responsibility of their owners. However, The City of Norman is very proactive about protecting our tree canopy, especially mature trees that would be very hard to replace. Trees deemed “historic” cannot be removed without first getting permission from the Forester, even if they’re located on private property. These regulations are designed to protect healthy trees from being unnecessarily removed so that we can all enjoy the benefits of a greener community. However, if the tree is hazardous in some way or can potentially cause damage to your property, then the City will give you the go-ahead.
Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in Norman?
Every serious storm in Norman will leave its fair share of downed trees. Trees with advanced diseases can also collapse seemingly out of the blue, especially if they have root rot from a fungal infection. Collapsed trees cause some serious headaches even when they manage not to damage any property on the way down. They start decaying as soon as they fall, attracting termites, carpenter ants, and other wood-boring pests you don’t want to infest your property. But who’s considered responsible for the removal in Norman?
If you’re a homeowner?
According to Oklahoma law, if it’s your tree, then it’s your responsibility. The good news is that your homeowner’s insurance is very likely to cover the removal, especially if the tree caused any property damage. One potential caveat is that some policies won’t cover fallen trees that were structurally compromised, such as having visible symptoms of a pest infestation. In that case, insurers can deny the claim on the basis that the homeowner was negligent for not making arrangements to get a hazardous tree professionally removed.
If you’re a renter?
Renters in Norman will often be asked to do basic upkeep on their rental property, such as mowing the lawn and clearing dead leaves. But when it comes to something major like dealing with a fallen tree, that’s definitely not your responsibility! Instead, the owner of the property will have to take care of it.
If you’re a landlord?
The legal and financial responsibility for removing a fallen tree belongs to the owner of the rental property. But again, your insurance is likely to cover both the removal and any damages caused by the tree. For the sake of your tenants, you should hire a reliable arborist like Tree Triage to take care of the problem before the termites move in!
If you’re a neighbor?
What happens if your neighbor’s tree falls and manages to land partly, or even mostly, on your property? This situation is not unheard of in Norman, especially during extreme weather. Collapsing trees don’t always respect boundary lines, which means that sometimes it’s just your turn to end up with half a tree across your yard. The law in Oklahoma considers this situation to be “an act of God,” and no one is necessarily at fault. Each homeowner is responsible for whatever section of the tree lands on their property, and their respective insurers generally cover the removal.
Of course, this law was designed for healthy trees that fall during a severe storm. However, if it turns out that your neighbor’s tree was dead, diseased, or otherwise structurally compromised, then that’s a different story. Under the law, your neighbor would be considered negligent and therefore responsible for the removal. In that case, it would be up to your insurer if they want to pursue a claim for the damages.
How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Norman?
Norman has mostly Port Silt Loam, which is a reddish, loamy soil that’s very typical of both central and western Oklahoma. Our soil’s rich and distinctive color comes from a mix of shale, sandstone, and siltstone. Port Silt Loam drains well and has a high content of organic matter, which makes it an excellent environment for growing almost anything.
While our soil is fertile and very easy to work with, there’s definitely a lot Norman’s gardeners can do to create the optimal conditions for healthy trees. You can boost the soil with peat, composted grass clippings, or even vegetable scraps from your kitchen. Mulch is another great option to add to the soil because it helps trees significantly increase their moisture retention. When dealing with drought conditions, mulch becomes essential for protecting the tree’s roots from drying out.
Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Norman?
Oklahoma’s weather has always been one of the biggest factors affecting our trees. Ice storms can begin as early as October and remain a possibility until the end of February. Norman’s trees have to contend with relentless conditions during these storms, and many of them will suffer severe damage throughout the winter. Spring brings the peak of tornado season, and even lower-rated tornadoes will feature gnarly wind speeds. We also deal with major droughts in Oklahoma that can stretch on for months. These long dry spells can stunt your tree’s growth, cause them to drop all their leaves prematurely, or even become fatal.
While these extreme weather events are all major challenges for Norman’s trees, the good news is that healthy trees can be incredibly resilient. Well-managed trees are especially likely to bounce back and flourish after a bout of severe weather. Also, trees that are native to Oklahoma are much harder, better adapted, and more likely to thrive despite our unpredictable weather.
What if Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Norman?
Dead trees and power lines don’t mix. Collapsed trees on power outages are the leading causes for power outages all around the state and the cause of a serious electrocution hazard. Some dead trees are so structurally compromised that they can even fall all by themselves, not to mention during a severe storm.
Oklahoma Electric Cooperative has crews around Norman taking care of trimming or removing any trees that can potentially interfere with their lines. If you notice a dead or visibly diseased tree that’s on public land and located perilously close to power lines, you should report the problem right away. And if the tree happens to be on your property, then, needless to say, you should make arrangements with us for a professional removal before the situation turns into a crisis.
How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Norman?
The cost of tree removal in Norman can vary quite a bit, but most homeowners should expect to pay between $250 to $1,950 per tree. Your estimate will depend on how much time and effort the job will take, as well as whether it requires any special equipment. Here are the main factors we’ll use to give you a quote:
Height of the Tree
Taller trees cost more because they have to be cut in sections, which requires our arborists to climb up the tree using special equipment. The rest of our team coordinates from the ground to finish the job safely and efficiently. In other cases, we may need a bucket truck or a crane to complete the removal. However, you can expect to pay much less for shorter trees, especially if they’re small enough to just make cuts at the base.
Condition of the Tree
Trees that are very weak and structurally precarious will potentially cost more to remove. This is especially likely if they’re afflicted by a disease that makes trees extremely unstable, like root rot. In addition, our arborists need to take extra measures with a tree that’s likely to fall with the slightest provocation, and this requires special equipment to complete the job safely.
Trees That Already Fell
If the tree already fell on the ground, and you essentially just need a haul-away service, you can expect to pay much less for the removal. We still need to cut the tree into sections and remove it from your property without causing any damage, but it’s a much less time-consuming project. The cost in Norman would range between $75 to $125, depending on the size and accessibility of the tree.