Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Stafford?
- 2 Does the City of Stafford Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
- 3 Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in Stafford?
- 4 How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Stafford?
- 5 Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Stafford?
- 6 What if Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Stafford?
- 7 How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Stafford?
What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Stafford?
Stafford lies very close to the Virginia/Maryland border, alongside the Potomac and not far from the beautiful Crow’s Nest Natural Area Preserve, which encompasses 2,310 acres of mature hardwood forest. In addition to offering this nearby natural beauty, Stafford is also a small town steeped in great history: George Washington grew up on a family farm in South Stafford. What’s more, Stafford is within easy driving distance of Washington, DC, making the culture and excitement of our nation’s capital easily accessible to residents.
A large part of the natural beauty in the Stafford area comes from the plethora of trees in the town. Indeed, Stafford County places a high priority on trees in residential and commercial developments. Nevertheless, trees in Stafford, as elsewhere in Virginia, can face several challenges to their health and wellbeing.
One non-native species that threaten trees in Virginia and elsewhere in the United States is the Emerald ash borer, which attacks ash trees as its name suggests. The insect is believed to have originated in Asia and arrived in the States via wood packing material. The Emerald ash borer can be very destructive to trees, killing them within three years of infestation. The trees die because the insects destroy their nutrient-conducting tissues. A common sign that this insect has infested an ash tree is a thinning of the canopy starting from the top of the tree.
Eastern Virginia has also dealt with another invasive species, the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, an insect particularly damaging to Hemlock trees. Indeed, the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid can kill a Hemlock tree within 3-6 years of infestation. Discoloring and thinning of foliage can be a sign of possible infestation, as well as the “woolly” oviscas produced when the adelgids lay eggs.
Should you have a tree that you suspect is diseased or otherwise damaged, you can call us here at Tree Triage, and we’ll be happy to assist you in assessing and dealing with the situation.
Does the City of Stafford Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
The County of Stafford places a great deal of importance on protecting and maintaining trees within its boundaries. For example, Section 28-82 of the Stafford County Code provides that “All development that fronts on a public street shall provide a planting area in accordance with the DCSL for the purpose of providing street trees unless a buffer yard is required along the same street frontage.”
The Code also defines specific types of trees that are deemed particularly worth protecting. These designations are listed as follows:
A heritage tree is “Any tree which has been individually designated by the board of supervisors to have notable historic or cultural interest.”
A memorial tree “means any tree which has been individually designated by the board of supervisors to be a special commemorating memorial.”
A specimen tree “means any tree which has been individually designated by the board of supervisors to be notable by virtue of its outstanding size and quality for its particular species.”
The County Code states that no tree with any of the above designations shall be removed, relocated, or altered unless the county administrator has been notified at least 14 days in advance. The tree should only be removed if it poses a safety hazard or is weakened or diseased.
The only instance in which the County offers assistance to property owners related to tree removal is the following: “In the event that the application of this chapter regulating the removal of heritage, specimen, memorial or street trees results in any taking of private property for a public purpose or use, the county shall compensate the property owner by fee or other consideration for such taking.”
Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in Stafford?
A general principle in issues related to trees is that a tree is yours to deal with if it is on your property. As a result, if your tree were to fall over due to disease or storm damage, you would be responsible, as the landowner, for having it removed. Of course, life is never quite as simple as we would like it to be, so there may be other factors to consider when it comes to tree responsibility. Homeowners, renters, and neighbors may all have different views of the subject.
If You Are a Homeowner?
As mentioned above, homeowners can generally expect to pay for its removal if a tree on their property falls over. Nevertheless, it never hurts to check your homeowner’s policy to see whether it might assist with your costs in that regard. Many insurance companies cover at least part of the costs of tree removal, particularly if the tree has damaged your house. However, you would also want to consider the deductibles before deciding whether to take advantage of any insurance assistance.
If You Are a Renter?
Renters in Stafford should not expect to bear the cost of removing any fallen trees at their homes. That is the responsibility of the landlord since he or she is the property owner. Any exceptions to this would likely need to be arranged ahead of time and specified in the lease.
If You Are a Landlord?
Because they are the property owner, the City expects landlords to pay for the removal costs of any tree rooted on their property that has become diseased or has died. Any exceptions to this would likely need to be arranged ahead of time and specified in the lease.
If You Are a Neighbor?
The Stafford County government provides the following answer to the question about whether it will remove a diseased or dead tree from a neighbor’s property: “Stafford County has no authority to remove trees from private property. This would be a civil matter between the property owners.” This response is in line with Virginia state law on the destruction of trees and shrubs. Virginia law states that “It shall be unlawful for any person to pick, pull, pull up, tear, tear up, dig, dig up, cut, break, injure, burn or destroy, in whole or in part, any tree, shrub, vine, plant, flower or turf found, growing or being upon the land of another… without having previously obtained the permission in writing of such other or his agent….”
Therefore, if you have concerns about a neighbor’s tree, it would be against the law for you to take the situation into your own hands. It is best to attempt to communicate with your neighbor about the situation as collegially as possible.
How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Stafford?
Much of the soil in Stafford County is loam. Loam is soil that is composed of roughly equal amounts of sand and silt with a smaller amount of clay. Loam generally creates good growing conditions for vegetation because it holds nutrients for plants while also draining better than clay. Stafford County also has the advantage of relatively flat terrain, which means that factors such as erosion are less of a concern.
Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Stafford?
Eastern Virginia has a humid subtropical climate, meaning it has pretty warm summers and relatively mild winters. The warm weather is particularly conducive to the growth of certain types of evergreen trees, which thrive in the long warm seasons and relatively steady rain. That said, residents of Stafford do occasionally have to contend with severe storms, particularly during the spring and summer. These storms have been known to damage trees or cause them to fall onto power lines and homes.
What if Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Stafford?
Stafford’s occasional storms can blow dead trees into power lines, causing power outages and the potential for life-threatening injury. Should you see dead trees on or near power lines, the best thing to do is to contact Dominion Energy at 866-366-4357. If you do not have at least 10 feet of clearance between a tree you wish to trim or remove and the power lines, you must contact Dominion. When Dominion trims or cuts down trees that could interfere with power lines, disposal of the tree is considered the property owner’s responsibility.
How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Stafford?
As with many costs associated with homeownership, tree removal can be pricey. In Stafford, the average cost to remove a tree is around $576, although many factors can make this either more or less expensive. A typical range for tree removal cost in Stafford is anywhere from $250 to $2,000. While this may seem like more than you’d like to pay, the alternative could be even worse. Dying trees have the potential to fall on your home or someone else’s, and in the worst cases, could end up injuring other people. In these cases, you could be on the hook for much higher, more unpleasant costs. It’s always best to deal with such problems before they create larger ones.
If our specialists need to spend extra time or use additional technology to reach the tree in question, it will cost the customer more. After all, time is money. Suppose a tree you want us to remove is already on the ground in an easily accessible spot (near the road, for example). In that case, you are much more likely to end up with a lower bill than if your tree is difficult to reach or we still need to cut down.
Prices for tree removal can go up after significant events such as ice storms or severe thunderstorms. The rise in cost is because the demand for our services can outstrip supply. If you consider having a tree removed, it is best to go ahead and request the service before something occurs that causes prices to spike.
Some other factors that may contribute to increased costs include:
- Active power lines around the tree
- You have made an emergency, after-hours request
- Heavy equipment is required
Now here are some things that might decrease the price:
- The tree turns out to be smaller than anticipated
- You have provided a good deal of advanced notice to us
- The tree is easy to access
- No heavy equipment is required.