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Proper tree care adds property value

Deferred or poor maintenance adds liability

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Trees are a landscape’s most valuable asset. Mature, well-maintained trees can add up to 20 percent more value to a real estate appraisal. In addition, trees that are properly cared for add an aesthetic curb appeal that draws positive attention to a property. Conversely, deferred maintenance and poorly maintained trees can have the opposite effect on a property, potentially lowering its value up to 15 percent. Besides drawing away from the aesthetic beauty of a property, trees that are not cared for properly can create a large liability for the property owners and managers. When trees have not been regularly inspected by an ISA Certified Arborist and kept appropriately pruned on a normal basis, there can be an increased potential for failure from heavy limbs. If there is a poor root structure that has not been identified by an ISA Certified Arborist and taken care of, then complete tree failure is liable to occur.

Trees in the wild are seldom considered hazardous. If they fail, there is usually no target, such as a structure, building, or pedestrian, to injure. However, in our urban environment, the potential for a tree to cause damage to a structure or injure an innocent stander-by is extremely high.

Often a property or facility manager who may not be well-versed in the field of arboriculture will unknowingly hire a company whose employees are not trained in the proper care of trees. Improper pruning can actually end up generating more future hazards than if a tree had never been pruned before. “Topping,” “lion’s tailing,” and “flush cuts” are some of the common terms used to describe poor pruning procedures. When trees have been subjected to these modes of pruning, their natural architecture is altered and they become predisposed to decay, rot, and weakly attached limbs. It can take a number of years to restructure a poorly pruned tree to its original form and often, a total tree removal is the only safe option.

In addition to the safety and beauty of your landscape investment, a property owner or manager must also be aware of the health of your landscape. The health of your property’s trees and plants rely on regular checkups and maintenance programs similar to how you take care of your own personal health. A proper diet can be compared to the appropriate nutrients your trees and plants require. Seeing a doctor for a regular check up or to take vitamins or receive a flu shot is not unlike the professional application of materials to keep trees and plants protected from harmful insects and diseases.

Plant health care not only ensures the safety of your property and tenants, but it can also help solve some of the most frustrating problems that you and your occupants might often encounter. For example, you might have tulip trees on your property that drip sap relentlessly on you and your tenants’ properties, vehicles, and sidewalks. This sap can peel paint off your car, stick to your shoes, track inside your house and cause fallen leaves to stick to the ground around your property. If you call a well-trained Certified Arborist, they could tell you that with proper soil injections in the winter time, they could not only ensure the health of your tulip trees, but they could also guarantee that you will no longer have to deal with the sap. Proper and prompt plant health care can save you money, help maintain your highest property value, and can keep you and your tenants happy.

When choosing a tree care service, property owners and managers must try to look for an organization with a wellness program designed to improve the health of trees and plants on your property. Some more advanced tree care companies allow their clients to select from a menu of prepackaged health care programs or choose individual treatments depending on the property’s unique environment. The goal is to provide tree and shrub care that is environmentally friendly and promotes healthy and vigorous plants. In turn, you can rest assured that your trees are in excellent care.

The selection of a company to maintain the beauty, health and safety of a property’s trees should be done with careful and complete consideration. In most cases, your property’s unique environment and appearance rest in the limbs of your trees. If you make sure to select a trusted leader in the tree care industry, it may be the best way for you to add beauty and natural curb appeal to your space.

One of the most effective ways to evaluate a tree care company is to look at their professional certifications and accreditations. It is essential that the arborist you choose is certified by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). The ISA is a worldwide professional organization dedicated to promoting research, technology and the professional practice of arboriculture. The ISA arborist certification was developed to provide customers with a means to identify those who have demonstrated, through a professionally developed exam and education program, that they have a thorough knowledge of tree care practices. This ISA certification program was also designed as an educational curriculum that improves the technical competency of personnel in the tree care industry and creates incentives for tree care professionals individuals to continue their educational and professional development.

Accreditation by the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) is another important factor to consider when you are selecting a tree care company. The TCIA accreditation assures customers that the company has gone through a thorough background check and that they have all of the proper insurance, business and industry licenses. The TCIA accreditation also assures that the company adheres to the highest industry quality standards; has stringent criteria in place for the training and professionalism of its employees; follows state and federal safety regulations; operates with reliable business ethics and has unparalleled customer satisfaction.

The next time you need to select a tree care specialist, there is no need to put yourself out on a limb. Just remember to look for proper certification and accreditation. Then you can be sure your trees are in the hands of experienced, well-educated arborists who can help you increase the overall beauty, health, safety, and value of trees on your property.

Everett is a ISA Certified Arborist WE-4233A and managing partner of Arborwell.

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