Trees have been the focus of my attention lately. This is because two weeks ago Lake Oswego had a big ice storm and a neighbors unkept trees dropped limbs onto power lines that caused a power outage at my house. It lasted 3 days. Of course this was not uncommon. At one point Portland Gas and Electric had power outages at over 300,000 homes in the metro area. Many were without power for longer than 3 days, so my intention here is not to complain about my personal experience. Instead, it has me thinking about the importance of paying attention to the trees in your yard.
Get them inspected
When buying a home, if the house has large trees in the yard, get them inspected. Most home inspectors only inspect the house itself. They don’t inspect the trees. A good home inspector will make the suggestion that you get the trees inspected, but many don’t. You should not take it for granted that trees are trees and no big deal. In particular, are any of the trees unhealthy? Are any of the trees unstable? Removing a big tree can be expensive. If this is something that can be learned up front, before you buy the house, it is something that can be negotiated as part of the purchase.
Trees need to be maintained
Once you own a home, maintain your trees by hiring an arborist every five years of so to go through your trees and take out dead limbs and prune to maintain health. My husband and I have done this. We have four HUGE fir tress and one HUGE English walnut tree. When we first bought our home I would occassionally sleep downstairs, not in my bedroom, if there was a big wind storm. Then one day while gardening, out of the blue, a big limb came down not too far from where I was standing. There’s a reason that these limbs are called widow makers. They are big and heavy and could really hurt a person. This was my wake up call that it was time to become friends with an arborist.
Since we have had our trees cleaned up, not one big limb has randomly fallen in our yard and no limbs have fallen during wind or ice storms. It is money well spent and gives tremendous peace of mind.
This brings me back to the recent ice storm. How I wish my neighbor was taking better care of his/her trees! Be a good neighbor and be a responsible tree owner.
I hope that you find this information helpful. Feel free to reach out to either Linda or myself if you have any questions about real estate and home ownership.