Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Providence?
- 2 Does the City of Providence Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
- 3 Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in Providence?
- 4 How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Providence?
- 5 Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Providence?
- 6 What If Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Providence?
- 7 How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Providence?
What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Providence?
We’re fortunate to have an amazing variety of hardy native trees that can do very well in Providence, including the Eastern White Pine, American Holly, Black Oak, Yellow Birch, and a wide range of fruit trees. Rhode Island chose the Red Maple as our official state tree in 1964, and it has since become one of the most popular trees in the city’s landscapes. Red Maples provide dense shade, plenty of sap for homemade maple syrup, and spectacular red leaves in the fall.
Life in Providence, Rhode Island comes with the beauty of New England’s changing seasons, but we also have some pretty harsh weather that challenges our trees every winter. Like any other living organism, trees can get damaged, sick, and even die of old age. In some situations, trees will need to be removed altogether, which requires professional help from our trained arborists. Let’s take a look at the common issues that can happen while taking care of trees in Providence.
One of the biggest problems affecting trees in Providence over the last few decades has been the spread of pests, especially non-native insects like gypsy moths and the Asian long-horned beetle. European gypsy moths have been devastating hardwood trees all throughout Rhode Island and southern New England, especially oaks, birches, willows, and many species of fruit trees. The caterpillars of these destructive pests are truly voracious. They can defoliate a tree completely within a very short amount of time, which leaves the tree very vulnerable to serious diseases.
The Asian long-horned beetle is an even greater danger for Providence trees, and the majority of trees infested by this pest will eventually die. The beetle’s larvae burrow tunnels deep into the tree, where they leach nutrients and feast on the living tissue of the tree for a full year until they reach maturity. As adults, the beetles will then introduce a new generation of larvae into the tree that will begin the cycle again. The onslaught of many generations of the Asian long-horned beetle is simply more than most trees can handle.
Depending on the condition of your infested tree and on which pest is causing the problem, our certified arborists can treat the tree with targeted insecticides. Sometimes the tree is so far gone that it’s become very weak and possibly structurally compromised. This makes them very susceptible to fall during the Nor’easters we get in Providence from November through March. This is the kind of situation where tree removal is the only way to avoid the potential damage and hazards of a collapsed tree.
Trees in Providence also have to contend with a wide range of diseases, many of which are caused by fungus or bacterial infections. These kinds of diseases tend to be easily transmissible, which is what makes them hard to control once you have an outbreak in your area. Dutch Elm Disease is an extremely transmissible fungus infection that shows up as yellow, wilting leaves. DED will generally prove fatal for the tree, although it’s very treatable during the early stages.
The most common issue for anyone taking care of trees in Providence is simply that they need routine maintenance. Most trees benefit from being pruned annually, which means removing any dead or weak branches that are cluttering up your tree. Deadwood attracts pests and diseases because it’s essentially rotting material. Pruning also gives your tree the green light for directing nutrients towards healthy new growth! The best thing you can do for the long-term health and beauty of your trees is to maintain a regular pruning schedule that’s appropriate for that particular tree species. Hardwood trees should be pruned sometime in the fall, while evergreen trees will do better being pruned in mid-summer.
Problematic or Nuisance Trees
Sometimes trees are simply at the wrong place at the wrong time, and they can end up causing all kinds of problems. The roots of some trees are quite aggressive, and it’s bad news if they get anywhere near your home’s foundation. Roots can also leave cracks in the sidewalk or grow into weak spots in the sewer line. Some trees that are common in Providence are simply a nuisance to have around because they require so much cleanup. The cottonwood tree has become a notorious example of this by dropping sticky pods of sap that end up all over the place.
Does the City of Providence Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
In the case of problematic trees located on the city’s land or in the public right-of-way, the answer is yes. You might notice public trees that show signs of advanced disease, which makes them a falling hazard, or with low-hanging branches that interfere with pedestrians. Residents can request a tree removal, or other tree maintenance work, by contacting the Forestry Division. If there are trees located near your property that need some work, you also have the option to request a free permit and hire our arborists instead of waiting for the city. If you’re removing a public tree, you’ll also need to plant a new one in its place.
Trees located on private land are the responsibility of the homeowner, however, Providence is very protective of our large, mature shade trees. All trees that are 32 inches diameter or more are considered Significant Trees, whether they’re located on public or private land. That means you have to get permission from the City Forrester to remove them, and there needs to be a substantial reason. You can only get legal permission if the tree presents a safety threat or is causing damage, such as roots that grow into utility lines.
Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in Providence?
Providence gets extreme weather for almost half the year, which leaves plenty of opportunities for heavy snow and wind to knock down trees. In general, whoever owns the property is responsible for removing any trees that fall, but there are some tricky situations when it comes to responsibility. One thing’s for sure: removing a fallen tree should be a priority. Trees begin to rot almost as soon as they fall, which will attract termites, carpenter ants, and other wood-boring pests that you don’t want hanging around.
If you’re a homeowner?
The homeowner is responsible for all reasonable upkeep on their property, including removing collapsed trees. Your homeowner’s insurance will generally cover the cost of both the removal and any associated damages from when the tree fell. Keep in mind that these policies do sometimes have exclusions. If they conclude that your tree fell because of neglect, such as an untreated pest infestation that weakened the tree, it’s possible that they can deny the claim or raise your premiums.
If you’re a renter?
As a renter, your landlord has a legal responsibility to take care of a fallen tree, just like any other major upkeep with the property. However, it’s always a good idea to let the owner know about any issues happening with the property, including visibly diseased trees.
If you’re a landlord?
If you own a rental property, then you’re legally responsible for taking care of the fallen tree and your insurance will probably cover the costs. If you’re simply a property manager that was hired to take care of the property, you’ll likely be in charge of making arrangements with our certified arborists but may not be on the hook for the bill.
If you’re a neighbor?
The scenario where your next-door neighbor’s tree falls on your property is definitely not unheard of in Providence, especially after a Nor’easter. Collapsed trees don’t know that they’re supposed to fall neatly within the boundaries of just one property. According to the law in Rhode Island, homeowners are responsible for any tree that falls onto their property, even if it’s your neighbor’s tree. The weather is considered a force that’s out of anyone’s control and, legally speaking, it happens to be your turn to deal with this issue. In most cases, your homeowner’s insurance will pay for the tree removal. If the insurance company determines that your neighbor’s negligence was the main reason for the tree’s collapse, then they may pursue a claim against your neighbor.
How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Providence?
Most of the soil types in Providence tend to be acidic, which is the result of both our high annual rainfall and the mineral-rich bedrock in this region of New England. Our soil also has a high proportion of both sand and silt, which is a great combination because they help to balance each other out. The sand content allows the soil to drain well, while silt has a very high capacity to absorb water. The resulting soil is excellent for growing trees because it contains plenty of moisture and macro-nutrients, including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
However, most Providence gardeners will want to boost their soil. Young trees, or trees that lose many branches during a harsh winter, might be in need of extra nutrition. You can utilize compost, grass cuttings, peat, or another organic matter to make your soil more nourishing. Many commercial fertilizers tend to be acidic, which is not ideal for our naturally acidic soil. Adding ground limestone to the soil can definitely help lower the acidity. You can also take advantage of the University of Rhode Island’s free soil testing service by sending them a soil sample from your property. They can give you information about the texture and pH levels of the soil, as well as some basic recommendations for making your soil more fertile.
Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Providence?
Severe weather is a fact of life in Providence, and it can definitely take its toll on our trees. Nor’easters normally happen from November to March, but they can even happen much earlier or later in the year. Trees have to deal with strong wind speed, relentless rain, heavy snow, and icy conditions. A well-managed tree, including an appropriate schedule of pruning and trimming, is less likely to suffer broken limbs. However, even perfectly healthy trees can get seriously damaged during a strong storm. This is why our cabling and bracing services are a very popular option for Providence homeowners that want to provide their trees with some extra support during the winter. Our certified arborists will assess your trees to determine any weak points, and then install a system of flexible cables and braces to help your tree better withstand a serious storm.
What If Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Providence?
Trees and branches that interfere with power lines are one of the main reasons for power interruptions during severe weather in Providence. Dead trees are especially likely to cause a problem, since they’re structurally compromised and will probably fall during a storm. Trees falling on power lines will also create a serious electrocution hazard.
If you see a dead tree located near a power line, you should alert both National Grid and 311. This double reporting ensures that crews from the city and the utility company can coordinate to solve the problem safely and efficiently.
How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Providence?
The average cost of tree removal in Providence is around $945. However, there’s quite a wide range leading up to that average. The low end is around $75 for removing a small tree that has already fallen and goes up to over $1500 for cutting down a very tall tree. Let’s take a look at the main factors we’ll use to give you an estimate:
Size of the Tree
The cost of cutting down a tree correlates very closely to the height of the tree. Cutting down tall trees will almost always be done in sections and the arborist has to actually climb the tree using specialized equipment. It takes a team of our arborists working together to complete the project safely, and taller trees simply take more time and effort. Short trees are a very simple operation, and we may even be able to make a single cut at the base.
Location of the Tree
The logistics of removal will be more complicated with trees that are located close to power lines, homes, or even to other trees. Our biggest priority is to remove the tree without causing any sort of damage to your property. This can become trickier depending on the tree’s location, which will potentially affect the price.
Trees That Already Fell
Removal of a tree that’s already on the ground will usually range between $75-$150 in Providence, depending on the size and accessibility of the tree. However, trees that are not on the ground, such as a tree that fell on a house or a power line, will naturally cost much more.