We rarely get reports of trees begging to be trimmed, and as property owners and managers we don’t always prioritize the needs of these valuable assets, but perhaps we should. I know what you’re thinking, and sure we are not necessarily unbiased, but at the same time we have certainly seen what can happen when trees are neglected, and the results can be both ugly AND expensive. Here are 5 great reasons to maintain your trees on a regular basis.
1. To enhance the natural beauty, appeal and value of a property. Numerous studies have shown that landscaping in general, and mature trees increase value, reduce time to rent or lease a property, and contribute to the overall return-on-investment of a property. Keeping your trees trimmed is the best way to maintain a clean and consistent impression for your property. For commercial properties especially, more frequent trimming can enhance visibility, reduce natural debris, and ensure that moss, seeds and fruits are controlled and eliminated where they are not wanted. *
2. To ensure the health of the tree and promote growth. Like all living things, trees are susceptible to many threats and hazards. More frequent trimming of dead branches will promote additional growth and improve the overall health of your trees. In addition, tree pruning can promote stronger root development, and even increase the chance of survival in a major wind storm. Like most living things, trees can often contract disease, and in some cases can infect other trees around them. Pruning is the best way to eliminate a disease early on, in the hopes of saving the tree.
3. To minimize hazards to people and property. For professional property managers, this is most often the number one reason to inspect and trim trees often. Trees have natural “hot spots” on their trunks that should be examined for weakness and decay, and which left un-noticed can eventually result in a tree falling. Dead branches called “hangers” can sever and fall, either immediately or over time creating a severe hazard in the drop zone. Many commercial and residential insurance companies will also require a minimum distance between trees and roof lines on commercial properties.
4. To Improve Visibility. While we love our trees, we also recognize that where trees are part of a commercial and especially a retail landscape, the name of the game is visibility. In addition to promoting the health and longevity of a tree, eliminating dead limbs, suckers, seeds, moss, fronds and other “distractions” can greatly enhance visibility and generate focus on a building or venue.
5. Planning to invest relatively little each year, can prevent big unexpected expenditures. We are all interested in the bottom line so consider this simple math. A mature palm can cost between $20 and $35 dollars per year to trim, and between $350 and $600 dollars to remove. Using these numbers, in the worst-case scenario the breakeven point for that single tree is 10 years ($350/$35=10 years) and the best case, using the less expensive trim price of $20 and the more expensive removal price of $500, the investment breakeven is 25 years. Add removing the stump and replacing it with another tree and you can see the compelling financial benefit of simply maintaining your investment over time. Using the same logic for a medium sized mature Oak Tree the math looks something like this. Annual trimming costs between $75 and $125 dollars per year, and removal costs ranging between $900 dollars and $1,800 the numbers can be equally compelling ranging between 7 years and 25 years. Again, stump and root removal and replacement costs add to the equation.
*Dr Joel B. Goldsteen, Professor of City and Regional Planning at The University of Texas at Austin published a study which explored the correlation between occupancies and architectural design variables which included Landscaping. His study concluded that landscaping ranked first as being highly correlated with commercial occupancies. “Landscaping amenities pay back the developer as evidenced by the higher occupancies (and rents) clearly justifying the investment”.