Paycheck Chronicles

Trees Require Service, Too


One of the many surprising expenses of homeownership is taking care of trees.  I LOVE having trees around my house, but I don't love having the responsibility of keeping them healthy and safe.  I really triply-don-t-like managing living things from a distance.

Tomorrow, I'm meeting with a tree guy to talk about two of the trees that are in the yard of my rental property.  I'm hoping that his professional experience will help us decide what to do with these huge trees that provide much shade but will also take out the entire house if they are toppled in a storm.  Tree management is a constant struggle between the desire to have those beautiful, shade-giving trees and the desire to have a safe property that is easy to maintain.

Reasons to keep your trees properly managed include:

  • removing dead branches that could fall and cause injury or property damage,
  • lightening the load on strained branches,
  • keeping leaves and limbs away from power and utility lines,
  • eliminating entry points for insects or disease,
  • spurring healthy new growth
  • encouraging the tree to grow in a way that provides a strong structure for the tree,
  • conforming with the expectations of your homeowner's association and/or your insurance company, and
  • making your neighbors happy.
In general, good tree care is an investment to avoid future problems.   Tree pruning or removal can be very expensive, but it is nearly always less expensive than the potential problems that can occur if you don't keep up with the tree maintenance.  A few years back, a neighbor's large tree came up in a heavy storm.  It basically flipped over, with the leafy bits in the basement and the roots sticking out high above the roof.  It was a mess, and I hope that careful tree care will prevent me from ever being in a similar situation.

What sort of interesting tree situations have you encountered?  I always hear fascinating stories when I ask about trees.


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