As defined in the tree care industry, a "Hazard Tree" is a tree that poses a level of risk to people or property that exceeds the risk tolerance of the property owner or manger. This means that a tree that may be considered a hazard to one property owner may not be considered to be a hazard by another property owner. Thus, "hazard tree" is a somewhat subjective concept, used when making tree risk management decisions on a particular property, and is not a description of the inherent level of risk actually posed by a particular tree. In the tree care industry the term "hazard tree" is generally reserved to describe a tree that requires immediate removal, or other mitigating actions, to reduce the level of risk posed.
There are many terms in use describing different types of tree care professionals and this can cause considerable confusion for a homeowner or property manager who requires a tree care provider. The information below will hopefully provide some clarity on the topic.
Anyone who has a home with trees around it will someday need to remove dead or dying limbs and trees. The best managed landscaping requires trees to be pruned or removed as they grow. In addition, storms often create dangerous situations as limbs and trees are broken or bent over. I remember living on Lake Martin in Alabama during Hurricane Opel. The storm hit at night and we sat in the basement listening to all the commotion and guessing what was happening to our home. Occasionally, I would go up to the main floor with a flash light (power was toast) and peer out the windows trying to assess the damage. One time I reported to my family that the porch roof was gone. The porch faced the lake and the direction of the wind. It had rained all day before the hurricane winds hit causing the soil around the trees that separated our home from the water to soften up. At day light we found all the lakeside trees pushed over onto our roof.
Among the new publications of note to arborists is ANSI A300 (part 2) - 2011(Soil Management- a. Modification, b. Fertilization, and c. Drainage). If you fertilize trees, or write specificity regarding the fertilization of trees, this is a new publication you must have in your library. You may obtain a copy of this publication from the Florida Chapter, ISA office.
Trends are fascinating and exhilarating phenomena. They allow pundits the opportunity to pontificate upon things which may never happen but are nonetheless given great credence due to the expertise of the pontificator. Trends tend to focus on the minutia of a far greater whole, and more likely than not are short-lived. Trends are fun to watch and a delight to participate in. Trends define goals and give us hope to better ourselves and our communities. We want to become a trendsetter due to its elitism and social stature. We want to follow trendsetters because there's safety in numbers. But lurking in the hallowed halls of this intermittent euphoria lays danger. Nothing can disappear quicker than Elvis Presley sideburns then to follow a trend and ignore the science behind it.
Oh lo, how many years have passed since one of the country's leading property rights attorneys asked me to meet with him and his assistant to go over my deposition prior to giving it. He was the lead property rights attorney for Florida's oldest law firm. He was located over 400 miles away, and wanted me to meet him at a pancake house at 5:00 AM. My deposition was at 9:00 AM the same day. The matter evolved around the governments taking of private property for public use - eminent domain - which may be found under Article 5 of the Bill of Rights. The issue of eminent domain is, and was, so crucially important to our founding fathers that the same number of jurors required for capital murder is also required for eminent domain trials. When you work in the field of eminent domain you are working in the literal heartbeat of our constitution.
Have you ever heard the name Donna Massie? How about Tom McCrum? The former holds the dubious distinction of having identified the very first Asian long-horned beetle (ALB) in Worchester, Mass. Already 1,800 trees have been tagged for removal on 62 square miles surrounding Worcester and four neighboring towns. Tom McCrum is with the Massachusetts Maple Syrup Association and joins economists and politicians in the nightmare scenario that would follow into the tourism and timber industry if the ALB encroached further from its current foothold. Approximately $268 million has been spent on eradication efforts during the last eleven years.
A couple of decades ago I hung a picture on my office wall. I hung it there at the beginning of my career in appraising trees and plants. The caption under the picture reads, "Do you want your assessment to show how much your tree is worth, or how little it is worth - it's a matter of emphasis". Setting aside the naïveté of the statement, the question remains the matter of emphasis in the approach used to valuation - and the ethical repercussions which ensue.
About one century before Davy Crockett entered the Alamo another fight for life was taking place in Safety Harbor, Florida. Amid a forest of oaks and vegetation a single acorn miraculously sent out a fibrous root which drove into the ground and somehow became established. Against all odds this root developed into a small tree and 300 years later it became the fabled Baranoff Oak. For over 300 years it has withstood the vicissitudes and inclemencies of weather. Hurricanes, lightning, and fires could not and did not kill this magnificent specimen. Now it is fighting for its life - and losing.
When your area of expertise includes tree preservation, and you have been doing just that for 45 years, a pattern of anticipation emerges from the owner of the tree as it relates to certain inquiries regarding the process and expectations. Wither my client is commercial or residential there are shared common denominators associated with each person. Here is my summation of the most frequently asked questions and my response: