Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Pittsburgh?
- 2 Does the City of Pittsburgh Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
- 3 Who Is Responsible for Fallen Tree Removal in Pittsburgh?
- 4 How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Pittsburgh?
- 5 Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Pittsburgh?
- 6 What if Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Pittsburgh?
- 7 How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Pittsburgh?
What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Pittsburgh?
Pennsylvania is home to some of the most annoying pests in the country, Pittsburgh being no exception to this. At the top of the list is none other than the gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar dispar). These unassuming bugs can devastate hardwood trees, devouring the leaves, wood, and roots of virtually any tree or shrub their larvae come across. If they aren’t reported quickly upon a first sighting, they can very easily destroy entire communities of trees.
Other than the moths, other insects that pose a danger to trees are the Asian long-horned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis), the spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula), and the always annoying termite. While they typically don’t pose as much of a danger as the gypsy moth, they’re a lot more common. The termite can be especially problematic if you live near dead trees, making it important to call us and have them cut and removed as soon as possible.
Another concern for trees in Pittsburgh is the water. The rivers in Pittsburgh are extremely polluted, meaning water sourced from them can cause issues for trees and humans alike if not properly treated. Water quality is an ongoing public health crisis in the city, so the water you water your plants with may not be as clean as it should be. This can cause numerous problems for the trees from stunted or irregular growth to death.
Pittsburgh is also located within a 100-year floodplain, meaning that the city is expected to severely flood once every 100 years or so. Like most anything else caught up in a natural disaster like this, trees have the potential to be swept away. While this isn’t exactly an everyday concern, you might want to be wary during the rainy or snowy seasons, as it’s not unusual for the rivers to overflow and flood the surrounding areas.
Does the City of Pittsburgh Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
The City of Pittsburgh does not provide assistance to those who want to remove a tree from their property. A tree located on someone’s property is their own responsibility. A street tree that a resident is responsible for (Pittsburgh puts homeowners in charge of trees located on their right-of-way) may be scheduled for removal without expense, but this is a decision made by the city and not by the resident. If a resident would like to prune, plant, or remove a street tree at their right-of-way, they would need to apply for a permit at the cost of $25, but approval is all you’ll get from them in terms of support.
Who Is Responsible for Fallen Tree Removal in Pittsburgh?
There are a few potential answers to who might be responsible for removing fallen trees. Let’s break down some of them here, discussing what you might be in for as a homeowner, renter, landlord, and neighbor to a tree’s owner.
If you’re a homeowner?
A homeowner is responsible for removing any trees that they own or are responsible for on their property. Considering it’s your tree and you own it, this isn’t exactly surprising. This also applies to street trees that you might be in charge of as mentioned earlier. Pittsburgh actually has several rules about proper tree care for street trees, requiring that residents water, weed, and mulch street trees near them. As they state on the city’s website, this holds true regardless of if you planted the tree yourself or if the city decided to plant it without your involvement.
A possible exception to this would be if someone else were to knock over one of your trees. In this case, you may be able to compel the other person to pay for removal in the same way you might receive damages for other types of property they destroyed. While things would hopefully not get litigious, you would likely have that option if need be.
Additionally, your homeowners’ insurance policy may cover tree removal. This will depend on the exact details of your policy, but a majority tend to have at least some situations for covering the removal of a fallen tree.
If you’re a renter?
While not specified explicitly in any state or local laws, a renter would most likely not be responsible for removing a fallen tree on the property they rent. Like anything you rent, the landlord is the actual owner of the property in question. Therefore, they should be paying to remove a fallen tree. This also covers the removal and upkeep of street trees, as they are the property owner and therefore responsible for the trees near their property. The exception to this would be if you were to cut down a tree on the rented property, in which case you would most likely be responsible for having it removed as well as any other fees or penalties from your landlord and the city that might be called for in that situation.
If you’re a landlord?
As stated before, landlords are generally responsible for having fallen trees on their rented property removed. Landlords are required to provide renters with property that is safe and habitable, and a fallen tree on the law would most likely not be considered either of those. Though it’s not exactly the same, requesting tree removal from a landlord could potentially fall under the same jurisdiction as property maintenance, something landlords are required to perform promptly. Similar to a residential homeowner, a landlord’s insurance policy may cover the removal depending on how it happened.
If you’re a neighbor?
While it would probably be the polite thing to do, someone else’s tree falling onto your property is not actually their responsibility to remove in Pittsburgh. Within Pennsylvania, a tree that falls due to natural occurrences and at no fault to its owner is not required to be removed by the tree’s owner. If you’re in this situation, you’ll likely need to rely on your own insurance to cover the costs of removal and repair to anything that might have been damaged.
As alluded to, however, this only applies to trees that fall by an “act of God” or the like. If your neighbor has a hand in the tree falling — intentionally or through negligence — then you’re in a position to compel them to remove it for you.
How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Pittsburgh?
Much of the soil in Pittsburgh is composed of clay, making it somewhat poor for growing things. Trees like magnolia and hazel do well in this kind of dirt, though, so these sorts of plants would be your best bet for growing a tree in the city. However, a lot of the soil in Pittsburgh is polluted similar to the water. In particular, lead in soil is a major issue in some areas of the city. If you’re not careful, you may end up poisoning and killing a young tree you try to plant. The best way to deal with this would be to mix the lead-contaminated soil with clean soil or by simply removing and replacing the contaminated soil altogether. To find out if you’re about to plant on contaminated soil, the city requires that residents send in a sample for testing before any vacant land be used as a green space.
Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Pittsburgh?
The weather in Pittsburgh consists of cold winters, mild springs and falls, and warm summers. In general, plants that don’t mind the cold thrive best here, so keep that in mind if you intend to plant a tree or even just some flowers. Rain and snow are also fairly common throughout the year, averaging around 40 inches of precipitation every year. The issue of pollution comes up again here, though, as things like acid rain can really do a number on trees and other greenery in the city.
What if Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Pittsburgh?
The city requires that any tree planted near or underneath a power line have a mature height of no more than 25 feet. As a result, a dead tree near a power line shouldn’t pose too much of a danger normally. However, a dead tree is still highly flammable and a potential hazard to humans and other trees. Like any other tree that needs removing, you’ll need to submit an application for a permit to get rid of it. That said, the city may decide to remove a dead tree on its own, especially if it’s in proximity to power lines. Before applying, try notifying city officials of a dead tree in your area, as they may do the hard work for you.
How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Pittsburgh?
You can expect tree removal in Pittsburgh to cost you about $388.88 per standing tree. Prices tend to range from $347.70 to $430.05 depending on any number of factors, as various things can influence the price of tree removal. Some of these factors are:
The taller a tree, the harder it is to cut down. Not only do big trees require more time and effort to remove, but they also need additional planning to remove safely. Due to this extra effort and risk, expect to pay something extra as your trees get taller. In short, bigger trees cost more to remove.
Not all tree removals are an easy affair. Tree removal professionals like us have a lot to account for already, but trees that are hard to get to or difficult to cut make the job that much harder. Add in the specialized equipment like cranes or bucket trucks that might need to be brought in to get the job done, and you might be looking at some extra costs after all’s said and done.
Rush jobs cost more no matter what the job might be. Removing a tree in an emergency situation is likely to add some extra fees to your bill. Additionally, calling us in on a holiday for an emergency tree removal will likely do the same for obvious reasons.