Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Lubbock?
- 2 Does the City of Lubbock Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
- 3 Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in Lubbock?
- 4 How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Lubbock?
- 5 Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Lubbock?
- 6 What if Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Lubbock?
- 7 How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Lubbock?
What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Lubbock?
Tree issues like fungi and pests are common throughout the country, and Lubbock is no exception. Some of the current concerns in Lubbock, TX, include a class of insects called “scales,” the potential for Emerald Ash Borer infestations, a leaf disease called Anthracnose, and homeowners choosing plants not suited to Lubbock’s climate.
The Field Guide to Common Texas Insects provides information about insects that can damage the state’s trees. One of these insects, commonly called a “scale,” harms trees in two ways. First, scales injure trees by feeding on their sap and plant juices. Then after feeding on the sap, these insects secrete a sticky liquid called “honeydew” onto the tree. Fungi then colonize and grow on the spots of honeydew. It is easy to spot scales as they sit on the exterior of the tree. Trees harmed by a scale infestation may turn black and lose their leaves.
Another insect that has the potential to harm Lubbock’s trees is Emerald Ash Borers. All ash trees that are native to the U.S. are susceptible to damage by these non-native pests. The Texas A&M Forest Service has been monitoring these pests since 2012. As of 2020, EABs had spread to a handful of counties in the eastern part of Texas. While the Texas A&M Forest Service has not detected EABs in Lubbock, it’s essential to monitor ash trees for the presence of these pests. EABs are an aggressive, fast-spreading tree disease. Once a tree is infected, it can be difficult to save it.
Emerald ash borers destroy trees because their larvae burrow under the bark. Unlike scale infestations, EABs can be a little more challenging to spot. Anyone with an ash tree in their yard should know the early signs of an EAB infestation. The first signs can be dying branches near the top of the tree and leafy shoots sprouting from the trunk. On some trees, the bark may split and reveal the larvae. Infested trees may also attract more woodpeckers, which can further damage trees.
Insects are not the only threat to Lubbock’s trees. Plant diseases can take their toll, too. Certain types of oaks, including Bur, are well suited to Lubbock’s drier climate. Unfortunately, a plant disease called Anthracnose can hit Burs especially hard. A fungus causes anthracnose and is more severe during cooler weather. Affected trees will have brown splotches on their leaves, particularly along the tips and veins. Lower and inner leaves will typically show more damage. Anthracnose can also be detected by closely examining the underside of a leaf. A magnifying glass may be necessary to see the fungus, which will appear in pimple-like growths.
Lastly, when planting trees, you must always consider the climate. Any tree planted in the Lubbock area must be drought tolerant to survive. Luckily, many types of trees will grow–and even thrive–in our dryer weather. The Texas A&M Forest Service has created a Texas Tree Planting Guide to help homeowners select suitable trees for their yards.
Does the City of Lubbock Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
Lubbock has several city ordinances that pertain to trees. The city maintains and cares for all trees that are on city property. Homeowners are ultimately responsible for the trees on their private land, including the cost of tree removal.
Section 16.02.008. Pruning, corner clearance, nuisance details the city’s authority to require home and business owners to remove “nuisance” trees. If property owners do not remove nuisance trees within a specified timeframe, the city will remove the trees at the property owner’s cost. In addition, the city of Lubbock has the right to remove or trim trees “without notice to the property owner” if there is an “imminent threat to public safety.”
These ordinances can give Lubbock residents peace of mind. If someone refuses to cut down a dangerous tree, neighbors know that they have some recourse with the city. Because as history has shown us, who is responsible for tree removal can be a touchy subject.
Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in Lubbock?
If a tree falls in Lubbock and no one is around to hear it, will it still make a noise? (Sorry, we couldn’t resist sliding that joke in.) In all seriousness, in most circumstances, property owners are responsible for fallen tree removal. However, there are situations where the responsibility is not so clear.
While we’ve seen some exciting tree disputes in our day, it’s challenging to account for every possible situation that can arise. Anyone who has questions about the legalities of tree removal may find the Texas Law Library’s Tree Guide helpful.
If You’re a Homeowner?
Homeowners are responsible for the care, maintenance, and removal of any trees that grow in their yard. But what happens when a tree grows right in the middle of a property line? Or what if your neighbor refuses to trim their tree when branches are hanging over your fence? Neighborly tree disputes can quickly reach a crisis level.
The lawyers over at the legal website Nolo have provided us with some guidelines for tree disputes. In Texas and throughout the rest of the country, the placement of a tree’s trunk–and not the overhang of the branches–determines ownership. If a storm knocks your neighbor’s tree onto your yard, your neighbor is responsible for removing the tree.
But what happens when a tree’s trunk sits right on a property line? We don’t see this too often, thankfully. Homeowners who “share” a tree trunk also share responsibility. And that does include splitting the cost of tree removal. Hopefully, in these types of cases, the neighbors can be friendly and settle matters independently.
And one last word, for homeowners: Check your homeowner’s insurance for tree removal coverage. Your insurance may pick up part or all of the cost, depending on the circumstances.
If You’re a Renter?
Renters are usually not on the hook for tree removal. Even if the lease requires the renter to mow the lawn and rake leaves, it is typically considered that tree removal is considered above and beyond routine yard maintenance. However, if the renter did something to damage the tree, they may be financially responsible for removing it.
If You’re a Landlord?
Property owners are responsible for tree removal, whether or not the home is owner-occupied. If the landlord manages the property, but another party owns it, tree removal is still the owner’s responsibility.
If You’re a Neighbor?
If the tree trunk is located entirely on your neighbor’s property, they are responsible for the cost of removing the tree, no matter where it lands. This is true even if a substantial portion of the branches hung over your yard.
How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Lubbock?
Texas Almanac categorizes the soils found in Lubbock as “high plains.” High plains are a continuation of soil types that are also in Oklahoma and New Mexico. The soil in and around the city of Lubbock consists of clay loams and sandy loams. The soil affects trees to the extent that it is often dry here, and the soil does drain well. One benefit of the soil in Lubbock is that root rot is not a threat to trees here.
Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Lubbock?
The weather in Lubbock, TX, is different from the southern and eastern portions of the state. The climate here is dry, with little to no humidity. Throughout the year, residents experience a range in temperatures. Summers can be in the high 80s, and 100 degree days are not unheard of. And during the winter, temperatures can drop below freezing at night.
Trees must be suited to a drier climate to do well here. If homeowners wish to plant trees that are not native to northwest Texas, they must make sure they choose drought-tolerant varieties.
What if Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Lubbock?
Dead, dying, and diseased trees are at a greater risk of falling, especially during a storm. Dead trees near power lines pose a serious safety hazard. Homeowners are responsible for dead and dying trees in their yard. If a neighbor refuses to cut down a dead tree on their property, residents should notify the city immediately. As noted above, the city will remove any trees that threaten public safety, even if that tree is on private property.
If a tree falls onto a power line, stay back. Do not go near the area, and notify the City of Lubbock Utilities right away.
How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Lubbock?
Lubbock’s tree removal ranges from $446 to $608, with an average price tag of $527. Factors that impact the final cost include how easy the tree is to access, whether our arborist will remove the stumps, and the tree’s overall size.
How easy (or not) a tree is to access will affect the cost of removal. It can be a tight squeeze to maneuver our equipment in and out of small city lots. Residents in a dense neighborhood like Tech Terrace can expect to pay more than homeowners who live on larger lots on the north side of Lubbock. We also have to consider any buildings and power lines below or adjacent to the tree.
Stump removal is typically not included in the cost of tree removal. The homeowner can choose to leave the stump as-is or pay extra to have it removed. Pulling a stump out of the ground, roots, and all will cost more than grinding it down. In Lubbock, removing a larger stump with extensive roots can cost over $300. Grinding a stump runs about $100 to $150.
The size of the tree, specifically its height and trunk circumference, plays a role in the removal price. Under most circumstances, a 70-foot Pecan tree will cost more to remove than a 15-foot Bigelow Oak.