Does my tree need to be removed? How can I know for sure? A tree removal service has said my tree must come down. And it must come down now! He says he is an expert. That he should know. After all, he has done this many years. Is his the final word on the matter?
First off, it should come as no surprise that a tree remover would recommend tree removal. That is what they do. Remove trees. Now, whether your tree really needs to be removed or not, is another matter (A).
It could be already dead, storm damaged, have increasing lean, uprooted, hollow, cracked, mushrooms growing on it, or has outgrown its boundaries and/or usefulness. For whatever reason you take your tree down, as the tree risk manager, it should be your decision, and not a tree remover’s.
Most owners get two or three free estimates. But are these estimates really free? This owner received an estimate from a large tree service to remove their water oak for $8,200 (B). Their top arborist even provided a written report for its justification. He stated because it has a double trunk, and could split, it poised an immediate danger to his neighbor’s home. Apparently, he had observed this same failure with Bradford pears.
The owner wanted another opinion other than a tree service. An impartial one from someone who wasn’t going to cut his tree down.
As a Board Certified Master Arborist, that is Tree Risk Assessment Qualified, I was amazed that their arborist would compare a water oak (one of our sturdiest trees), to a Bradford pear (the most structurally deficient tree in our nation!). Having personally evaluated over 1 million trees, I can not remember observing codominant trunks failing on a water oak without a significant defect and loading event (such as ice).
Even if this beautiful oak required immediate removal, why so expensive? This backyard tree is easily accessible, the ground compacted and level, good drop zone, no utility lines or permanent structures nearby. Upstate company’s removal rate range from about $1,500 to $3,500 for a day. Most companies could remove this tree in one day (especially with a crane). But even if it took 2 days, at the most expensive rate, it still would only be $7,000.
Unfortunately, having been in the business for 31 years, I see this far too often. While, I may not know for sure if its incompetence or a lack of ethics (or both), nonetheless, this should never happen. Not even once. Back in the day, our company removed over 100k trees. We never took advantage of people. Such ‘so-called arborists’ have no business in our Industry. There are great arborists out there. We would be glad to recommend some of them to you (without a referral fee).