Removing a tree that’s on its last limb

Trees can add beauty and value to homes and even reduce heating and cooling costs if they’re properly placed, but if your yard has a tree that’s on its last limb, it may be time to have it removed.

“Over the course of the last two years we had about 17 trees taken out – all Ash trees,” said homeowner Troy Carpenter.

A few years ago, Carpenter noticed the Emerald Ash Borer beetle was killing his trees.

“You start noticing when the canopies thin out and eventually they don’t have any leaves, so we thought we could treat about half of them that seemed to have somewhat healthy canopies,” said Carpenter.

When the treatments didn’t work Carpenter had no other choice but to have the trees removed.

“Proper tree maintenance is important from a liability standpoint for homeowners,” said Angie’s List founder Angie Hicks. “You may not realize, but if you have a tree that falls and damages someone else’s property, you are going to be responsible, so you want to take care of them when you see the first need.”

“If there’s anything from defoliation – partial to complete defoliation of the tree – to discoloration of the foliage to disfiguration of the leaves – sometimes leaves are curled – that could be signs of a certain diseases or potential other injuries,” said tree service expert Rick Carter.

When it’s time to remove a tree, several factors can affect the costs.

“A lot of tree removal companies will charge by the foot of a tree,” added Hicks. “For example, if it’s $15 a foot, a 40 foot tree would cost $600 to remove, but keep in mind that doesn’t always include taking the stump out so be sure to ask about that in particular if that’s important to you.”

In addition, check whether the company’s quote includes a full yard clean–up or if the debris will be your responsibility to remove. Many professionals offer free on–site estimates. Beware of any company that gives an estimate over the phone without looking at the tree.

Tree removal is highly technical and dangerous and should only be done by an experienced professional. Before hiring, ask for proof of insurance and licensing, and be sure all details of the project, including services and costs, are outlined in the contract before signing.