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Tip #190: Branching Out

When was the last time you had the trees around your rental property inspected?

Do any of your trees have branches that sprout no leaves? Cracks and holes and lean to one side strangely?

It may not always be so easy to spot a sick tree. The tree may appear to be healthy but harbor an unseen danger. A large number of tree- related injuries are from dead or hanging branches that fall at random.

Be particularly careful with trees that have branches overhanging heavy pedestrian areas.  If there’s damage or an injury, the law will most likely hold you accountable. If you spot a tree you find suspect, have it evaluated in light of the tenant activity nearby.

Often the tree in question is worth keeping around, but sometimes removal is a safer bet.

Arborists generally recommend having a tree inspected every 1-3 years, but more often in times of extreme weather — like major windstorms, drought, or floods. Be aware that a big storm may have cracked or broken some branches prematurely.

The difference between a sick and healthy tree is the same as adding value to your rental or creating a hazard and a lawsuit.

Although expensive, hiring a qualified arborist to look for all those cracks and dead limbs is a good safeguard against tree disasters. Doing your own tree work, or claiming to be a tree expert will likely increase your exposure in a legal battle.

See last week’s Landlord Quick Tip.

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