Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Fairfax County?
- 2 Does the City of Fairfax County Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
- 3 Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in Fairfax County?
- 4 How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Fairfax County?
- 5 Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Fairfax County?
- 6 What If Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Fairfax County?
- 7 How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Fairfax County?
What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Fairfax County?
Tree problems in Fairfax County are multi-pronged. The biggest of them is infestation by insects. The Fairfax County Government reports the Emerald Ash Borer and the Fall Cankerworm as the most destructive and common insects in northern Virginia.
The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is a native of northeast Asia. It is suspected that the beetle was unintentionally introduced into North America through packaging material in 2002. Since then, EAB has spread great distances on its own. It’s most commonly transported to non-infested areas in wood chips, nursery stock, or ash firewood.
EAB is notorious for burrowing under the barks of trees to feed on the vital vascular tissues inside the tree. A tree infected by EAB will usually succumb within three years because it cannot transport water and nutrients.
It’s not just insects that pose a threat to trees in Fairfax County. Diseases like the Thousand Cankers Disease (TCD) that predominantly affects the Walnut trees are also a genuine concern. A TCD infestation leaves behind a trail of extensive dieback and high mortality of the Black Walnut. Initially, the disease was isolated to western states. But it has been observed in other areas of North America. In August 2010, TCD was identified in Knox County, Tennessee. Since then, the disease has been reported in Central Virginia, Fairfax, and Prince William Counties as recently as 2012.
The Fairfax County Urban Foresters are also battling the exotic and invasive tree of heaven, the host of an invasive pest called the Spotted Lanternfly. The fast-growing, deciduous tree is native to China. It was first introduced into the United States as an exotic, fast-growing, ornamental shade tree in Philadelphia. The tree is mostly observed in towns as a tree growing out of place. It tends to grow out of the crevices and cracks of stone or cement patios on sidewalks and close to building foundations. The tree seems to grow just about anywhere with enough soils to support its growth. We have removed it from cracks on building foundations, tarred parking lots, and even alongside buildings.
Besides the pests and diseases that affect trees in Fairfax County, there are also the usual suspects like fire and mold. In recent times, flash floods and storms have become a real threat in Fairfax, and these could also uproot trees. If you suspect your trees are infected by a pest or a disease, get in touch with us at Tree Triage as soon if you notice anything out of the ordinary.
Does the City of Fairfax County Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
Fairfax County has Urban Forestry Policies and Standards that guide tree conservation, landscaping and screening, health and safety menaces, and stormwater management.
Fairfax County does not have the legal authority to require the removal of hazardous trees located in a private property unless the trees threaten the public at large. In such cases, the removal of the tree is at the cost of the agency or the owner of the property.
The tree conservation ordinance of Fairfax County further dictates various requirements within the community, among them the percentage of sites that should be covered by tree canopy in 10 years, tree conservation requirements, and the criminal violations and penalties, among other infractions and civil penalties.
Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in Fairfax County?
The responsibility for the removal of a fallen tree and the associated costs is not a straightforward subject. There are numerous factors to consider that could affect who is liable for the payment.
If you’re a homeowner?
More often than not, the tree removal tab for a fallen tree falls squarely on the shoulders of the homeowner. But, if you have a homeowner’s insurance policy, you should check to see if there’s a clause to settle the cost of tree removal or a percentage of it.
The Fairfax County tree conservation ordinance is also an excellent resource. Check if there are special circumstances in which the county can assist with the tree removal or any other type of assistance.
If you’re a renter?
If you’re a tenant in the Fairfax County area and a tree in your compound falls, the bill for the tree removal will most likely fall on the landlord or the owner of the property. However, if the cause of the tree falling was something you did as a renter, and the landlord can prove this, then the landlord has the right to seek judgment from the renter to settle the cost of tree removal.
If you’re a landlord?
According to the Fairfax County Tree Conservation Ordinance, the duty of maintaining, trimming, and pruning in a rented area is the sole responsibility of the property owner. If you have multiple rental properties, you’re responsible for those as well. This applies to lawns, shrubs, bushes, and other types of landscaping as well.
If you’re a neighbor?
Disputes among neighbors because of fallen trees are pretty common and, at times, dramatic. Tree removal issues are a hotly contested topic that often severs the most amazing relationships. If you own the property, it’s your responsibility to remove the tree.
But what if the tree falls on your property? Keeping communication lines open and cordial is an excellent place to start. But it doesn’t always yield the desired results. In Fairfax County, the case is considered a civil case if there is discord between the neighbors. You can also consult with the insurance company for potential compensation or legal assistance.
How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Fairfax County?
Fairfax County has an unusually vast range of types of soils. 108 types of soils to be exact according to a recent county-wide soil map.
The most common topsoil in Fairfax is Glenelg silt loam. It covers about 65,000 acres of the county but it only runs a few inches deep after which marine clay takes over several feet deep. During the wet season, the clay swells up and during the dry season, it becomes dry and hard.
Although trees will still grow in this type of soil, waterlogging in the soil can deprive trees of oxygen and cause them to have shallow roots. Also, the swelling and shrinking of the soils can compromise the stability of trees causing them to fall particularly in wet weather.
Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Fairfax County?
Fairfax County has an exciting soil profile with several types of soils. Generally, the soils are deep, most types are well-drained, deep, and fertile. These soils do an excellent job of supporting tree growth save for areas with marine clay soil.
In the recent past, the cause for concern has been the weather. Increased global warming has led to prolonged drought and extreme storms. An increasing number of trees, particularly in the White Oak group, have started dying in significant numbers.
The changes in weather patterns and increased temperatures have had adverse effects on the weather. Some of the efforts local authorities are making to avert more tree loss include:
- Providing outreach to resident, government partners, and volunteer groups
- Coordinating with local and state experts to conduct new research
- Sharing the samples of the dead and dying trees to universities for analysis
- Assessing the risk of failure and impact of the dead and dying trees on public properties with the help of arborists like Tree Triage
What If Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Fairfax County?
Downed trees on power lines present numerous complications. Power interruptions are often the most obvious but the tree can present various dangers, among them electrocution and other dangers to the general public. On that note, you should never touch or attempt to move a tree that has fallen on power lines.
The Fairfax County Government public works department has done an excellent job of putting together a list of contacts you should call for various tree-related incidents.
For dead trees that have fallen on power lines, there are contacts for teams that can safely remove the tree and address any power interruptions.
How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Fairfax County?
Tree removal is not a cheap affair. In isolated cases, the actual cost of removing the tree might be lower than your original estimate, but in many cases, the cost will usually be higher. On average, you can spend anywhere between $300 to $1900 for tree removal. What you pay ultimately depends on the nature of the job and the size of the tree, among other vital factors that include:
Access to the location of the tree can vastly affect the cost of removal. Although there is no ideal place for the tree to fall, some areas are more accessible and easier for our crews to work in than others. In some cases, heavy machinery like cranes and bucket trucks might be required to complete the tree removal.
If the tree has fallen on any structure, that will further complicate the removal and impact the final prices. Tree removal requiring the use of advanced machinery will come in at the higher end of the price range. But that will depend on if the removal can be completed in a single day.
The size of the tree being removed is another determining factor. Depending on the size of the tree, the price can go up or decrease. Here is a sample of tree removal prices depending on the size of the tree:
- Tree trimming (small) – starts at $130
- Tree removal (Small) – starts at $300
- Tree removal (medium) — $900
- Tree removal (large) — $1,600+
- Stump grinding — $280
The bigger the tree, the more you can expect to pay to have it removed. Bigger trees require more resources and time, hence the price tag.
Things That Can Cost More or Less
There are several factors that can push up the cost of tree removal;
- There are permits required for the tree removal
- The tree is rather tall
- There are power lines around the tree
- We need to use heavy equipment in the removal of the tree
- The tree can only be removed after hours or on a holiday
There are also several factors that can decrease the original quoted price;
- The tree is still small
- The tree is in an easily accessible area
- You want the tree removed in the offseason
- We don’t need to use any heavy equipment in the removal
You should also keep in mind the manpower required for the tree removal. The more people we need for the job, the higher the removal cost is going to be.