Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Roanoke?
- 2 Does the City of Roanoke Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
- 3 Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in Roanoke?
- 4 How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Roanoke?
- 5 Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Roanoke?
- 6 What if Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Roanoke?
- 7 How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Roanoke?
What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Roanoke?
Roanoke’s trees are a major point of pride for the city. We’re especially fond of native species like the Sugar Maple, the Eastern White Pine, and (Virginia’s beloved state tree) the Flowering Dogwood. Trees are a vital asset that enhances our daily lives with their beauty while also mitigating some of the negative aspects of city living. They provide shade, purify the air from harmful pollutants, absorb carbon, and shelter the city’s birds. Roanoke’s moderate climate helps our trees grow lush and healthy, but they can also suffer from a wide range of issues. Like any other living being, trees can get sick, damaged, or simply die of old age. Tree removal is the best option in some situations, especially for dying trees that are structurally compromised and likely to fall. Here are some of the common problems that homeowners tend to have with their trees in Roanoke.
Pests and Diseases
Roanoke is a paradise for trees, but it’s also a very welcoming environment for invasive pests that can harm trees or even kill them. In recent years, one of the most destructive pests affecting Roanoke trees has been the emerald ash borer, which targets ash trees. This metallic-green pest originated in Asia and has already killed millions of native ash trees across the United States. Like other invasive beetles, the emerald ash borer feeds on the sugars and other nutrients located beneath the tree’s bark. Without treatment, most ash trees will die within just 2 to 5 years of getting infested with this pest.
Trees in Roanoke also have to contend with several types of bacterial and fungal infections. These illnesses can be very tough to contain because they spread quickly between trees, often through root contact or even carried along by air currents. Flowering dogwoods are susceptible to suffering from dogwood anthracnose, especially if they’re growing in a very shady spot where their leaves remain wet for too long after it rains. Excessive moisture will turn your dogwood into a breeding ground for a harmful fungus infection that travels from the leaves to the branches and eventually to the main stem. Dogwood anthracnose can kill your tree within 2 to 3 years, and younger trees are likely to die even more quickly. This is why you should always plant dogwoods in a sunny spot where they can get nice and dry.
Many pests and diseases that affect trees in Roanoke are treatable, especially if we catch the problem early enough. Trees with advanced tree diseases will eventually be too far along and likely have to be removed. Sick trees get very weak, which makes them a serious falling hazard during heavy wind or rain. Roanoke has mild weather most of the time, but we get our fair share of tropical storms and even the occasional tornado or hurricane.
Remember that even perfectly healthy trees need some attention from our certified arborists! Tree trimming and pruning is the process of thinning out the tree’s canopy to remove weak, dead, or overgrown limbs that are using up valuable nutritional resources. This annual process is a great way to encourage healthy new growth and make the tree stronger overall. Pruning in the fall and winter is very common in Roanoke since trees are “dormant” and not growing. Pruned trees get to enjoy a noticeable burst of fresh new growth during the spring. Some flowering trees should be pruned in early summer, right after they bloom.
While trees enrich our lives so much, they can definitely cause some headaches. This can include damaging property, creating unsafe situations, or requiring too much cleanup. Oak trees are notorious for having aggressive root systems that can push against a home’s foundation, which is why they should never be planted too close to home. Tree roots have also been known to break through asphalt walkways or make cracks in the sidewalk. Trees with tall branches can scrape against your home’s siding or interfere with utility lines. Sometimes, a tree is no longer right for the property.
Does the City of Roanoke Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
Roanoke takes a proactive approach to maintain its tree canopy, which has led the city to be designated part of the Tree City USA program. This commitment to greening our community with healthy trees definitely extends to trimming or removing publicly-owned trees when necessary. This can include trees with advanced disease, tall trees that block streetlights, or trees with low-hanging branches that get in the way of pedestrians. You can report these issues to the Urban Forestry department by using Roanoke’s Requests for Services system. You even have the option to upload some photos of the problem.
In the case of problematic trees on private property, the City of Roanoke doesn’t provide any assistance, and the owner will have to take care of the situation. However, you don’t need to apply for a permit to remove trees on your land, making the process very straightforward.
Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in Roanoke?
Trees can collapse from severe weather or, for trees with an advanced case of root rot, even from the stress of gravity. Fallen trees are quite a hassle, especially if they cause any sort of property damage. Along with these trees being a general eyesore and inconvenience, you have to be mindful of removing them before they attract a colony of termites or carpenter ants to your property. So, who is considered responsible in Roanoke? The answer is pretty much always the owner of the property, but there are exceptions.
If you’re a homeowner?
It’s your responsibility to remove any tree that falls on your property, but your homeowner’s insurance will usually cover this. They will also pay for the damage caused during the tree’s collapse up to a certain limit, which is usually around $1000 for most insurers. Keep in mind that these policies are designed for trees that get knocked down because of extreme weather. If the insurance company ends up deciding that you were negligent in some way, such as not making arrangements to remove a sick tree that was clearly a falling hazard, they might refuse the claim.
If you’re a renter?
As a renter, your lease may include some basic lawn maintenance. However, you’re definitely off the hook from any major upkeep on the property, including tree removal.
If you’re a landlord?
As the rental property owner, removing the tree is your responsibility, but your insurance will almost certainly cover the cost. No doubt your renters will appreciate it if you take care of the situation quickly!
If you’re a neighbor?
Collapsed trees don’t necessarily respect property boundaries on the way down. What happens if your next-door neighbor’s tree lands on your property? This situation is not common in Roanoke, but it definitely happens, especially after a tropical storm. In this case, even though the tree belongs to your neighbor, you would be legally responsible for making arrangements with our certified arborists and paying for the removal. This might feel unfair, but the idea is that collapsed trees aren’t necessarily anyone’s fault since they mostly occur because of extreme weather. Also, your insurance will cover the cost of the removal and any associated damages.
If your insurer has reason to think that the tree fell because of negligence rather than the weather, then they may pursue a claim against your neighbor. Thankfully, you can just stay out of it!
How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Roanoke?
Here in the Roanoke Valley and Southwest Virginia, in general, most of the soil has a very high clay content. Clay drains very slowly and doesn’t absorb water or nutrients as easily as other soil types. The result is very thick, compact soil that can be very hard to work with. While our native plants and trees are adapted to Roanoke’s conditions, adding compost, mulch or fertilizer can help. In general, improving the microbial activity of your soil will make it a much more nourishing environment for growing healthy trees.
Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Roanoke?
Roanoke’s weather is one of the best things about living here. We have mild winters, 214 sunny days a year, and less hurricane or tornado action than many other parts of Virginia. You might even say that we get some protection from being surrounded by the Allegheny and Blue Ridge mountain ranges. However, the city occasionally gets severe weather from tropical storms with very strong winds, which can lead to downed trees.
The biggest way that weather affects our trees is with recurring droughts, which we do deal with in this part of Virginia. Drought conditions in the short term can slow or arrest the growth of trees and even cause them to lose all their leaves prematurely. A long-term drought can be fatal for trees, but Roanoke hasn’t dealt with droughts on this level for a long time. As always, native trees are best adapted to thrive in Roanoke’s climate, including the uncomfortable dry spells.
What if Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Roanoke?
Dead (and dying) trees near power lines are an extremely bad combination. Structurally compromised trees are likely to collapse during a tropical storm and pose a serious electrocution hazard if they fall on a power line. According to Appalachian Power, trees that interfere with utility lines are the number one cause of power outages. Roanoke’s City actively maintains all public trees to ensure reliable service, but this problem can still happen.
If you notice a dead tree near a power line, you should alert Appalachian Power so that their crew can take care of it. You can also call Roanoke’s non-emergency line at 540-853-2411.
How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Roanoke?
The average tree removal in Roanoke will cost you around $720 per tree, but this really is just an average. The low end of the price range will be just $75 to $150 for hauling away a tree that has already fallen. Cutting down a small tree will cost around $260, while a very tall tree can cost well over $1,500. Let’s take a look at the different factors that go into a tree removal estimate.
Height and Diameter of the Tree
A taller and bigger tree will cost more, mostly because they usually have to be cut into sections. This process will require an extensive rigging system that allows our arborist to climb the tree and work with a team on the ground to finish the job safely. Heavier trees are also more difficult to move, which requires more effort and time.
Location of the Tree
Tree removals can become more complicated if the tree is close to a home, within reach of power lines, or tightly surrounded by other trees. We have to take special precautions to ensure the removal process doesn’t cause any sort of damage or any unsafe situations for our arborists. Depending on the logistics of each job, we might need more equipment or a bigger crew. In general, the complexity of the project will always affect the cost of your tree removal.
You might be surprised to learn this, but stump removal is not automatically included in tree removal services. Most stump removals will involve grinding down the stump until it’s about four to eight inches beneath the soil’s surface. Some homeowners will be looking to have the tree completely uprooted. This type of stump removal is a whole other ballgame, which will cost more and require special equipment if the tree has very deep root systems that won’t come out very easily. Overall, you can expect to pay between $75 to $300 for stump removal. You also have the option of turning the stump into wood chips, which will be great for use around your property as an excellent mulch option.