My neighbor approached me a couple of weeks ago to tell me that he planned to hire someone to cut off a very large branch of our tree that was rotting and overhanging his property. I guess I could have let him go ahead and do it. Sure, I would save myself some money in the process, but I have this thing about taking responsibility.
The law is pretty straight forward. My neighbor would be perfectly within his rights to cut any part of my tree that overhangs his property. However, the tree is on our property. The right thing to do is for us to take care of it. The right thing is not always the most cost-effective thing, but for the sake of neighborly relations, we should foot the bill for this work.
It’s about safety
A tree is especially vulnerable to rot where the trunk splits off into a “Y” and this was our problem. It would only be a matter of time before the forces of nature caused that section of the tree to come down onto my neighbor’s cedar fence, my neighbor’s car, or, God forbid, my neighbor.
While you’re at it…
We also had a tree growing against the foundation of the addition that we wanted removed. Plus there were several remaining stumps from a few years ago when the electric company removed trees that were interfering with the electrical wires. Might as well take care of everything at the same time. Total cost: $1200
Justifying the expense
Can we afford it right now? No. Is it a priority right now? Heck no! What, with the heating and the flooring and trim upstairs, our credit cards will be getting quite a workout in the next couple of months. It will probably be years before we will even approach debt-free status. But if you consider the cost of liability should our tree damage our neighbor’s property, or the cost of repair if one of our other trees damage our property, or even the cost to repair the lawnmower if I run over one of the stumps, then this is money well-spent.
Thursday morning the tree guy showed up with an assistant. They spent the next 10 hours trimming one tree and removing two others from our front yard. On Friday, he returned to take care of the stumps, which I had started hacking out with a hatchet last year. I figured if I got rid of one or two stumps a year, in three years they would be gone. It took the tree guy only about 3 hours with the stump grinder to reduce them to sawdust.
On the positive side, you can see a lot more of our house now. On the negative side, you can see a lot more of our house now. At least for now we no longer have to worry about any damages caused by trees.