Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Cambridge?
- 2 Does the City of Cambridge Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
- 3 Who Is Responsible for Fallen Tree Removal in Cambridge?
- 4 How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Cambridge?
- 5 Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Cambridge?
- 6 What if Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Cambridge?
- 7 How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Cambridge?
What Are the Most Common Tree Issues in Cambridge?
While most of the trees in the Cambridge area are healthy, there are several reasons you might need to have a tree removed. Here are the 3 most common reasons residents call our tree removal team:
At the intersection of Mason and Garden, you’ll find a plaque that marks the spot where the Washington Elm grew for more than 150 years. According to local legend, George Washington stood under this elm as he took command of the army at the start of the American Revolution. A storm toppled the elm in 1923, though, and it’s not the only tree to become the victim of Cambridge’s extreme weather. Our area can experience everything from hurricanes to ice storms to blizzards. These conditions can damage the tree population, knocking off large limbs and bring down fully grown trees. Storm damage isn’t just bad for the tree, either. It could make the tree a safety risk to your family and the surrounding property.
Risk to an Adjacent Structure
We have great growing conditions for trees. Sometimes, though, it’s almost too good. Trees can grow rapidly in Cambridge, outgrowing the space you have for them until they become a risk to your home, garage, or other structures. Roots can be an issue, too, growing into the foundation or your plumbing, and causing a lot of damage. Sometimes we can simply prune back the tree or remove the problematic root. Occasionally, though, the best way to eliminate the threat is to remove the tree.
There are many invasive pests species making themselves at home in Cambridge’s trees. The emerald ash borer is a particularly nasty one. This beetle eats its way into the tree, eventually destroying the internal system of the tree that supplies its nutrients. The wooly adelgid, another invasive pest, looks like an aphid and loves to kill off Hemlock trees. Sometimes it’s possible for our arborists to eliminate these pests if the infestation is caught early enough. Often, though, these insects will end up killing the tree, and the tree will need to be removed. Removal may also help prevent the spread of pests to nearby trees.
Does the City of Cambridge Provide Any Assistance in Tree Removal Problems?
The City of Cambridge does not assist with tree removal issues on private property. If a tree’s trunk is within your property line, then that tree belongs to you. You are responsible for its pruning, care, and removal. If you have a dispute with your neighbor over a tree, then you’ll need to resolve it through the legal system.
The city handles the maintenance and care of all trees on public property. If you see a tree that you believe requires removal or trimming in a public space, you can contact the city of Cambridge’s tree maintenance team at (617) 349-4800. They’ll evaluate the tree along with the guidance of the city’s arborist.
Who Is Responsible for Fallen Tree Removal in Cambridge?
When a tree falls, who is responsible for its removal and the damage it causes? Massachusetts state law has plenty to say on the topic. We’ll provide some quick answers here, but if you need more clarification, it’s best to consult with an attorney.
If you’re a homeowner?
If a tree sits with your property lines, then it’s your tree. You’ll be responsible for removing it if it falls.
However, things are a little different if the tree falls into your neighbor’s property. In this case, whether you are responsible for the removal comes down to the health of the tree before it fell. If the tree was otherwise healthy, then you won’t be responsible for the removal. Falling was an unforeseen and unavoidable act of God, according to the law. If you knew the tree was diseased, damaged, or otherwise dangerous before it fell, though, then you could be liable for both the removal and any damage that it did when it fell.
If you’re a renter?
Renters occupy about 65% of the houses in Cambridge. None of those renters, though, are responsible for a fallen tree, even if it falls within the boundary lines of the rented property. Landlords are responsible for the care and maintenance of trees, including their removal when they fall. Tenants should contact the landlord or property management company right away after a tree falls, so they can arrange for the removal. If there was any damage, renters can make a claim on their rental insurance.
If you’re a landlord?
Landlords are responsible for the trees on their rental property unless it’s specifically written otherwise into a contract. Your tenant should contact you about any fallen trees on the property, so you can have them removed. If they can prove that you knew the tree was a safety risk, though, you could be liable for any damage the tree did to their personal property.
If you’re a neighbor?
Whether you are responsible for a neighbor’s tree that fell in your yard or not will depend on the health of the tree before it fell. If it was healthy, then according to the law, the tree will be your responsibility to remove. You should also be able to file a claim on your homeowner’s insurance for any damages to fences, cars, etc. However, if you can prove that your neighbor knew the tree was at risk for falling, then they may be responsible for the removal and may be responsible for damages. This can be difficult to prove, though.
How Does the Soil Affect Trees in Cambridge?
There are a lot of different types of soil in Cambridge. Some of them are very wet, especially those found in areas along the Charles River. They might be wet when you dig down more than a few inches. Away from the river, you’ll find fine, loamy, and sandy soil. These soils are generally good at storing nutrients for the trees. That, combined with the area’s precipitation and sunshine, means trees have what they need to grow quickly in the Cambridge area.
Does Weather Affect Tree Health in Cambridge?
The weather has a major effect on tree health, both positively and negatively. In general, Cambridge weather is good for trees. We have wet winters, providing trees with plenty of moisture. We also have warm summers, so there is plenty of sunshine for the growing season.
However, we have our share of extreme weather, as well. Hurricanes, ice storms, and blizzards all regularly occur in the area, and they can each have a detrimental impact on the trees in Cambridge. We can also experience drought conditions. While most trees are strong enough to weather a drought, it can severely impact their growth.
What if Dead Trees Are Near Power Lines in Cambridge?
If the tree has fallen or has come into contact with power lines, then you should contact the Cambridge Police Non-Emergency Line at (617) 349-3300.
If you have concerns about a dead tree or a tree you believe should be trimmed, then you use the Commonwealth Connect service. This service allows you to make requests about planting trees, trimming trees, and even removal requests for trees on city property.
How Much Does Tree Removal Usually Cost in Cambridge?
The cost of tree removal varies significantly. You’ll pay anywhere from around $150 to $1,990, with most homeowners averaging around $875. The cost will vary depending on a few factors:
The bigger the tree, the more you’ll pay to have it removed. The honeylocust tree, one of the most common trees in Cambridge, grows between 30 and 70 feet high. At 30 feet, you can expect to pay around $500 to $700 for the removal. If your tree reaches 70 feet, though, plan on paying at the higher end of that scale.
Tree Location and Accessibility
The neighborhood doesn’t matter, but what’s around the tree does. Trees that are close to other structures, other trees, or power lines are a lot harder to remove. They’ll require more of our workers and equipment to bring down safely. We will charge more for trees in areas that pose a higher risk to the health and safety of their teams.
Stump Grinding and Other Services
Stump grinding can add a few hundred dollars to the cost of your tree removal. If you want to save money, you can opt to keep the stump in place. It’s recommended that you have the stump removal done, though. Removing it provides you with a cleaner space for landscaping and prevents the stump from becoming diseased in the future. You may want to add other services onto your tree removal visit, too, such as trimming the other trees on your property or treating for pests.
Keep in mind that Cambridge also requires you to have a permit for the removal of a tree that has a trunk more than eight inches in diameter. If the removal is an emergency, you can apply for the permit after the fact. We’ll provide you with a statement confirming it was an emergency and plenty of photographic evidence that the tree required removal.