Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Aiken?
- 2 Does the City of Aiken Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
- 3 Who Is Responsible for Fallen Tree Removal in Aiken?
- 4 How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Aiken?
- 5 Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Aiken?
- 6 What If Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Aiken?
- 7 How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Aiken?
What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Aiken?
Aiken and trees go together like sweet tea and lemonade, from our citywide arboretum to our carefully planned shady streets and the elegant estates of the Winter Colony District. Our graceful live oaks on South Boundary and the variety of trees at Rye Patch, Hitchcock Woods, and throughout our lovely city display the richness and variety of our trees — generally thought to be the most diverse array of trees in any municipal setting. Unfortunately, our beloved trees are not eternal and can come with a variety of issues for us, including:
With such a wide variety of tree species, native and imported, throughout Aiken, our trees are vulnerable to attack by some native pests, but primarily by invasive insects that have usually been brought to the US by mistake and have no predators here. Some can be fatal to trees, while others weaken them, making them vulnerable to other pests, diseases, and weather stresses.
- Emerald Ash Borer – A fairly recent arrival in South Carolina, the emerald ash borer larvae chew through the bark of ash trees, limiting their ability to transport water and nutrients. Infestations are often fatal to the tree if not treated.
- Cankerworms – Several species of cankerworms attack many of our hardwood trees, feeding on their leaves until the caterpillars drop to the ground in spider-like silk to make their cocoons. Cankerworm infestations are rarely fatal themselves, but they weaken trees, making them susceptible to other dangers.
- Scale Insects – Numerous kinds of scale insects feed on different species of trees in our area, including crape myrtle bark scale, beech scale, and gloomy scale. The insects suck on trees and secrete a sticky liquid that makes a mess of anything underneath it. Rarely fatal, scale infestations can be unpleasant and can cause a tree to be weakened.
- Southern Pine Beetles – This beetle attacks many kinds of pines, especially shortleaf and loblolly, and as colonies grow, they can spread to, and destroy numerous pines.
- Ambrosia Beetles – Attacking hardwoods and evergreens alike, ambrosia beetles are especially troublesome in South Carolina, as they spread the laurel wilt fungus. In general, affected trees should most often be removed to prevent spreading infestations.
The lovely climate that draws so many to our gentle hills is also one that can encourage the growth of many tree diseases. Some of the more commonly found tree diseases around Aiken include:
- Root Rot – While there are many kinds of root rot, one very problematic type around Aiken involves the Armillaria fungus. Untreatable, it is especially harmful to fruit trees such as peaches and cherries, but almost any tree can be vulnerable to its infection except birch and larch which appear to be immune. The best treatment is usually to remove an infected tree.
- Laurel Wilt – Devastating for our beloved redbays, sassafras, avocados, and other members of the Laurel family, laurel wilt is spread by ambrosia beetles and usually kills infected trees.
- Oak Wilt – This disease of oak trees affects red oaks most aggressively, and can kill infected trees in a matter of weeks, sometimes. It is a fungus spread by insects, grafted roots, and careless transport of firewood from affected trees. Trees with oak wilt should be removed as quickly as possible to prevent its spread.
Old Age and Damage
Because our community takes such pride in our trees, even those affected by insects and diseases generally tend to have long lives and are tended to with love and care. Eventually, though, all trees are susceptible to the passage of time and the combined stresses of disease, weather, physical damage, and other problems. Dead or dying limbs and hollow sections are signs of a tree that may need to be removed.
Does the City of Aiken Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
Aiken city government is responsible for over 8,000 trees across our town, from those lining our streets and sidewalks to those in our parks and public spaces. Aiken also has entered into a public-private partnership to tend our famous live oak avenue along South Boundary. That said, you are generally responsible for your own tree removal issues unless an obviously dead or dying city-owned tree causes damage to your property. Should you notice a tree problem, you may want to contact the Aiken city government to find out what the city can do to remedy the issue.
Who Is Responsible for Fallen Tree Removal in Aiken?
In general, according to South Carolina law, the person on whose property a tree falls is normally the unlucky one who is responsible for its removal, and their insurance policy would cover the damages of what usually falls under the “act of God” category. If, however, the tree which fell was obviously unhealthy, so that the average person looking at the tree would think so, responsibility for its removal and any damages associated with its falling may lie with the tree’s owner instead. In fact, failure to take care of a clearly unhealthy tree can make you vulnerable to claims of negligence if it causes damage or injury, and your insurance company may refuse to pay out related claims. This can be a complicated issue and relies on subjective opinions of whether a tree was obviously in poor shape. Luckily, it is usually the two property owners’ insurance companies who will wrangle out the details of responsibility. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your trees to ensure their good health and reduce your risk of liability.
If you’re a homeowner?
In brief, a healthy tree that has fallen due to ice, wind, lightning, or other causes, is generally the responsibility of the homeowner where the tree fell. If the tree was clearly dead or dying, responsibility may shift to the tree’s owner.
If you’re a renter?
Renters are, as a rule, not responsible for trees that fall on or from the property on which they live, though occasionally a lease agreement may specify otherwise. As the person spending the most time on a property, though, you should take note of the condition of trees on the property where you live and the neighbors’ lots, and alert your landlord if you notice any problems so they can be remedied before disaster strikes.
If you’re a landlord?
Landlords in Aiken are generally responsible for fallen trees along the same lines that homeowners are, even though they don’t live in the properties they rent out. Arranging for regular tree maintenance and care on any properties you rent can help develop great landlord-tenant relations, and can help protect your valuable investment.
If you’re a neighbor?
If your neighbor’s healthy tree falls on your property, unless they were clearly negligent (for example, cutting it down themselves), you and your insurance company are normally on the hook for its removal and any damages it caused coming down. If your neighbors were negligent, either in their actions or by not taking action to have a dead or dying tree removed, they may be responsible for your expenses and damages.
How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Aiken?
Aiken’s loamy sand soil is a practically ideal type for countless species to grow and thrive, as witnessed by the hundreds of different tree species that grace our streets, parks, and yards. From Hopeland Gardens to Hitchcock Woods, our rich, well-drained soil clearly offers the water, nutrients, and room for roots to grow well that our trees need for healthy growth.
Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Aiken?
Naturally, all weather, good and bad, will have an effect on the health and growth of trees. We are lucky in Aiken that our weather is generally so pleasant for both people and trees that our historic Winter Colony was settled just so people could improve their health in our desirable climate. While the rare tornado or hurricane remnants do blow through, most of our weather is fairly mild and presents little danger to our trees.
What If Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Aiken?
South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCEG) is responsible for trimming and removing brush and trees around power transmission lines to help prevent outages and ensure safety around the lines. Sometimes, only the part of a dead tree that may affect lines is removed, and you, the homeowner, may be responsible for the remainder of a dead tree. Regardless of how much of a dead tree is removed, the debris which remains is your responsibility, and the same holds true for tree debris after storms. If you see a dead tree that may cause utility problems, you should contact SCEG. To help prevent problems between trees and utility lines, the City of Aiken provides a list of approved trees of all sizes for landscaping purposes, including those smaller trees suitable for planting near power lines. While these guidelines are designed to regulate landscaping work done by contractors and developers, they offer excellent suggestions for appropriate trees for growing in Aiken
How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Aiken?
Tree removal costs in Aiken are quite reasonable, with the average job costing between $450 and $650, though removing a tree which has already fallen will normally cost well below that. Of course, numerous aspects of a tree’s removal can affect its cost. Some of the more common are:
Size and Type of Tree
As you’d expect, larger trees will require larger costs to remove. Trees with more complicated branch and limb structures, taller trees or those with larger diameters, forked trunks, and other characteristics can add to the cost of removal, too.
Location and Accessibility
When we need to remove trees that are close to other trees, homes, garages, other outbuildings, play equipment, swimming pools, utility lines, landscaping, or other parts of your property and your neighbors’ which must be protected, costs will rise. Some tree removals require specialized equipment, and our ability to move that equipment close to the tree in question can also affect prices.
Additional Services and Expenses
Some tree removals, due to the tree itself or its location, may require specialized equipment, a larger work crew, or other added expenses. Many homeowners also opt for added services such as log splitting for firewood, debris chipping, or stump grinding, all of which can affect your bottom line.