Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Tacoma?
- 2 Does the City of Tacoma Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
- 3 Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in Tacoma?
- 4 How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Tacoma?
- 5 Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Tacoma?
- 6 What if Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Tacoma?
- 7 How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Tacoma?
What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Tacoma?
While many of the tree issues in Tacoma and other areas in the country are caused by specific pests and diseases, some trees in Tacoma are declining without a specific known cause. Bigleaf maple trees are some of the most well-known and beloved tree species in the area. Unfortunately, they’re experiencing symptoms like crown dieback, discoloration and size reduction of leaves, heavy seed crop, crown thinning, and tree death. While speculation of the cause of deterioration includes drought, leafhoppers, proximity to roadways, and increased human development, the actual cause hasn’t been proven. Other tree issues that affect Tacoma trees include:
Improper pruning of trees can lead to a decline in tree health and premature tree death. Tree topping removes large amounts of leaves and branches from a tree’s crown to reduce the tree’s size. Also called heading, stubbing, dehorning, tipping, and rounding over, tree topping removes large amounts of nourishing leaves and protective branches. Trees get much of their nourishment from leaves and the process of photosynthesis. Removal of large amounts of the tree canopy leads to sun damage and tree decline due to starvation.
When insects feed on trees and create homes beneath the bark, tree decline and premature tree death can occur. Below are some of the more common tree-destroying insects in Tacoma:
- Bark Beetles: While bark beetles don’t typically kill healthy trees, those affected by drought are susceptible to these insects. Bark beetles have heavily impacted Douglas firs during recent droughts.
- Apple Maggot: When mature, these insects lay eggs beneath the skin of the host fruit. An adult apple maggot can lay between 300 to 500 eggs in her lifetime. Larvae feed on fruit while tunneling through the fruit flesh for around 30 days.
- Codling Moth: This common apple pest is known as the worm in the apple. Eggs are laid on or near fruit. After hatching, larvae tunnel into apples to feed on the fruit surrounding the seeds. When left unmanaged, the coddling moth can damage 85% to 90% of trees, making fruit wormy and unfit to eat.
- Spotted Wing Drosophila: These insects affect several fruit trees but have the biggest impact on sweet cherry trees in Tacoma. Eggs are laid on the flesh of the fruit. After hatching, larvae feed on the fruit and create holes in the fruit to breathe, resulting in decayed fruit.
Climate change is leading to hotter and drier summers across Washington and having a major impact on trees. While it’s true that climate change also brings about heavy rains in Tacoma, this action usually occurs during spring and doesn’t mitigate the summer drought. Trees suffer severe stress from drought and can even experience a break in the water column that hydrates the tree branches. If the tree fails to repair itself, the water pathway fails, and everything above the break dies.
Unfortunately, trees already stressed from drought conditions are more susceptible to pests as well. This problem has heavily impacted Douglas firs as bark beetles take advantage of drought conditions and attack unhealthy trees. Bark beetles are typically unable to infect and kill healthy trees, but the drought conditions allow them to attack weakened trees.
Root diseases are responsible for large losses of trees in Washington forests. Root diseases can be caused by flooding, soil compaction, and drought, but most of the root diseases in Tacoma are caused by fungi. These are the most common root diseases causing damage in Tacoma.
- Laminated Root Rot
- Armillaria Root Disease
- Annosus Root Disease
- Black Stain Root Disease
- PortOrford-Cedar Root Disease
Root disease causes a variety of symptoms in affected trees. While the symptoms that appear are specific to certain diseases, they can range from yellowed foliage to sudden tree death. Most root diseases cause reduced height growth, loss of foliage, crown decline, and insects living beneath the bark. Root diseases cause a slow and steady decline and death among trees since the fungi travel through soil to affect more nearby trees over time.
Does the City of Tacoma Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
While Public Works provides removal of portions of trees that block city streets or sidewalks, the city of Tacoma does not assist in tree removal problems on private property. However, Tacoma Power will remove trees close to primary lines that pose an electrical hazard. To request a tree removal service for trees that pose an electrical hazard, residents can call, email, or fill out an online form.
Who Is Responsible For Fallen Tree Removal in Tacoma?
Typically, homeowners are responsible for fallen tree removal in Tacoma. The City of Tacoma requires abutting property owners to maintain adjoining rights-of-way. This includes streets and alleys extending from the owner’s property lines out to the curbs or edges of pavement. Property owners are responsible for fallen tree removal on their property and the adjoining public space.
If you’re a homeowner?
Generally, if you’re a property owner in Tacoma, you’re solely responsible for tree removal on your private property and the public property adjoining your property. A tree work permit and a barricade permit are required for tree removal in the public right-of-way joining your property, and removal of a street tree typically requires replacement.
If you’re a renter?
As a renter, you’re not responsible for tree removal unless the terms of your lease state otherwise. For assistance with fallen tree removal, contact your landlord. If a street tree is an imminent hazard, contact the city for an emergency inspection.
If you’re a landlord?
As a landlord and property owner, you are responsible for fallen trees on your Tacoma property and the adjoining right of way. However, if you’ve been contracted to oversee the property, the terms of your contract should state whether you’re responsible for tree removal.
If you’re a neighbor?
In Tacoma, property owners are responsible for maintaining private property and adjoining the right-of-way between properties. This can lead to disputes about boundary lines. The city of Tacoma provides a map to help you locate your boundary line and determine responsibility for tree removal. If the fallen tree isn’t within your property and right-of-way boundaries, you’re not responsible for removing the tree. However, you may be responsible for debris that falls on your property.
How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Tacoma?
The soil in Tacoma is generally poorly drained and susceptible to runoff. The soil has little effect on the trees. However, the trees play a large part in helping eliminate runoff and the associated effects on the local environment. Storm runoff picks up fertilizers, oils, and chemicals from the ground. Trees absorb this water and filter the chemicals, helping to prevent contamination of streams and rivers.
Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Tacoma?
High winds are the biggest weather culprit affecting trees in Tacoma. Fall and winter storms that bring high winds break branches, topple trees, and cause power outages due to tree damage near power lines.
What if Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Tacoma?
Never attempt to prune, trim, or cut a tree that is touching power lines. Tacoma Power trims trees near power lines on a 4-year schedule. If you’re concerned about a near or touching power lines tree, contact Tacoma Power to schedule an emergency inspection. Tacoma Power will remove trees directly under or so close to our energized primary lines that they may pose an electrical hazard or are unlawful for a qualified contractor to remove. However, the utility company reserves the right to refuse tree removal that poses no electrical hazard. For tree removal services of a tree that is an electrical hazard, you can call, email, or mail the downloadable form to request removal.
How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Tacoma?
Tree removal costs in Tacoma can vary widely depending on the circumstances of your removal. The average cost of removal is usually between $613 and $830. However, this estimate doesn’t consider the cost of permits and tree replacement for the removal of street trees or any other mitigating circumstances. Consider these cost factors when attempting to estimate the cost of tree removal in Tacoma.
Removal of street trees and stumps of at least 8 inches below the surface requires a permit. The cost of tree removal is separate from the cost of removing the stump. Stump removal usually consists of grinding the stump beneath the surface of the soil. Trunk removal cost is often charged by the inch and can add an extra $100 to $150 to your tree removal cost.
In Tacoma, property owners are responsible for maintaining right-of-way spaces that adjoin the private property. This public property often includes planting strips that grow street trees. While homeowners are expected to maintain these trees, a permit is required to remove a street tree. Additionally, you may need a permit to remove trees on your private property if the property is located in or near critical areas, as defined by Tacoma Municipal Code 13.11. Critical areas include critical aquifer recharge areas, fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas (FWHCAs), flood hazard areas, geologically hazardous areas, stream corridors, and wetlands. Since Tacoma does not support removing trees for view enhancement, the application fee for a tree removal permit for view enhancement has a minimum fee of $1,300.
High winds and storms account for a significant amount of tree damage during Tacoma’s fall and winter months. Storms damaged trees can create hazardous conditions for our tree removal experts since the trees are no longer structurally sound. Any tree removal that requires special equipment puts our workers in danger is an emergency removal, or takes longer to remove can increase the removal service cost.