Tree damage from storms is not that uncommon in our area, so you might want to check your homeowner’s insurance to see if landscape plants are covered. If they are, the insurance company can arrange to have an appraiser determine the value of the loss.
The value of a shade tree is based on four factor:
•Size: Larger trees are more valuable and harder to replace than small ones.
•Species: Trees that are hardy, durable, adaptable to different growing conditions and free from objectionable characteristics are worth the most. They will have sturdy, well-shaped branches and pleasing foliage.
•Condition: A healthy, well-maintained tree will have a higher value. Roots, trunk, branches and buds are all inspected.
•Location: A tree in your yard is worth more that one growing in the woods. One standing alone will often value higher than one in a group. A tree near your house, or one which is a focal point in your landscape, tends to have more value.
Here is a checklist of steps to take before and after any casualty loss to your trees and landscape. They can improve the value of your investment and prevent financial loss if trees should be damaged or destroyed.
• Plan your landscaping for both beauty and functional value.
• Protect and preserve trees to maintain value.
•Take pictures of trees and other landscape plants now, while they are healthy and vigorous. This makes “before and after” comparisons easier and will expedite the processing of insurance and / or IRS claims.
•Check your insurance. In most cases, the amount of an allowable claim for any one tree is a maximum of $500.
•Keep accurate records of your landscape and real estate appraisals of any losses. This is for insurance, legal and income tax purposes.
•Consult a plant care professional before planting to select the right trees, their location and care.
Information on selecting landscape trees and their care is available from your local state forestry or Extension office, so you might check them out.
Steve Roark is the Area Forester in Tazewell, Tenn. for the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Forestry Division.