General Question

philosopher's avatar

Can anyone advise me about tree trimming?

Asked by philosopher (9165points) October 7th, 2014

We have a big old oak tree in our side yard. NYC will not allow us to remove it. Despite that branches fell in Sandy. We trimmed it but, we feel it must be trimmed again. We want it trimmed because we feel it is a hazard and because we recently had solar installed. We had a few people look at it and they all approach it differently. They all say that if, we remove too much it could fall. No one is clearly telling is what to remove. They are all recommended on Angie’s list.

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18 Answers

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

I also live in New York. If NYC won’t allow you to remove the tree I guess that means the tree is on City property not yours? I know where I live a City owned tree has to be ¾ dead before the City will even consider taking it down.

I also have a big old oak tree on my property right next to the side of my house. It has been there for 100 years. It was half the size when we purchased our house over 40 years ago.

I have been told by actual tree people that oak trees roots grow straight down not like maples that branch out all over. We have never had any plumbing problems in all the years we have lived here. We have had this tree professional trimmed over the years at around $1000 a time. but as you know oak trees grow back from the trim really fast.

I did get some quotes and most prices are around $12,000 to cut down this big oak.
In your case if you don’t own the tree you might be able to go to the courts to petition for the tree to be trimmed by saying it is a hazard to your personal property.

If you actually own this tree you have to know what you are doing when it comes to trimming or cutting down a huge tree. use professionals! look in the yellow pages, pennysaver or even get recommendations from people who have trimmed or cut down a tree. Dont go it alone.

philosopher's avatar

@BeenThereSaid That
In my area of NYC they passed some nutty law saying despite that it is on my property I can not remove it.
I want someone to trim it without killing it.
We removed one tree after my neiboghor purposely killed it. We need permission.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Sounds like it might be a hazard, now or down the road. Does the law have any exclusions? Also oak is fairly valuable for timber, any angle there?

JLeslie's avatar

I thought this was going to be about Christmas trees.

NYC should have an arborist who can advise you I would think.

Did you investigate the option of removing the tree, paying a penalty, and agreeing to plant another one? Some cities have that option. You still do paperwork and get it approved. I don’t know if NYC has that option. I would hope someone would have mentioned if it is a possibility, but you never know if they inform you of all your options.

philosopher's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe
When we took a tree down my husband had to spent hours waiting to speak with someone at the parks department. Few people seem to know the rules. Months later they came to see the tree and gave us permission to remove it. My neighbor killed it. It was on the property line.
Sometimes when I Goggle NYC information I find little.
I don’t think they would send anyone to advise us. They would say you have find someone. I am concerned that the person can trim it enough without killing it.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Let me do a little digging tomorrow on their web site. That sounds like typical NYC crap, but maybe I can find something. Definitely administered by the Parks Dept?

gondwanalon's avatar

Did you have a certified arborist evaluate your tree? Such a tree expert can determine the correct actions to take and also will know how to deal with the legal aspects as well. Good luck!

Smitha's avatar

Try to contact any NYC tree service company, they are trained to do light tree pruning. Bad tree pruning can permanently scar the tree, and at times can cause the tree to become susceptible to disease.

JLeslie's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe In FL and TN it’s the city or county, whichever controls your particular municipality, that controls removing trees. NY could be different of course.

@Smitha Well, it it is screwed up and dies they will finally get permission to remove it. I think the problem is the possibility of the tree causing damage.

snowberry's avatar

It’s a shame, but if you want it removed, you may have to arrange for its demise yourself. That shouldn’t be too difficult to do, but if you have trouble, try contacting your neighbor (LOL)!

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@snowberry Not that I would ever consider killing the tree so it had to be removed, but girdling it with a weed eater or Atrazine came to mind.

snowberry's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Actually if it’s necessary to protect your property and the gov’mint won’t allow you to remove it, it just might have to come down with the tree equivalent of ebola.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@philosopher Oh good Lord, you weren’t kidding. There’s a section for everything. Are you sure it’s not considered a “street tree”? It looks like if it’s on private property they won’t work on it. So if they let you work on it before, it sounds like it’s on your property. Lets work the system a little. Can you get a certified arborist to look at the tree as a potential threat? If you could get one to agree, then you could apply for a permit under their rules to get the tree removed as a potential source of danger or something along those lines. If you present it to the department along those lines some lackey would probably rubber stamp it and move it through the system. I wouldn’t touch it without a permit though. It’s a real pain of a system. If you need some more help let me know.

philosopher's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe
Everyone who saw it said, it is healthy but, should be trimmed. The problem is all the people who said, they can trim the tree said, if they cut too much it could be cored and fall. I have to trust someone to trim it without coring it.
The last city person who checked it when they were trimming street trees also said, it is healthy. Which means they will not approve taking it down.
I may remove it eventually but, not now. That would be a major job. I just installed solar and a generator. Removing the tree cost more than I wish to spend now.

snowberry's avatar

@philosopher As I recall, around where I live, they say to remove no more than ⅓ of the plant’s foliage.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

@philosopher I am at a total loss at why the owner of the tree (you) can’t do what the heck you want with it. I know N.Y.C. has some crazy laws but telling the owner of the property what they can or can not do with their own property? are you sure about this?????

It seems like something about this story is amiss.

gailcalled's avatar

I am constantly having huge limbs lopped off mature decidous (oak and maple) and evergreen (pine and hemlock) trees without any problems. My guy is not an arborist but a guy who is handy with a chain saw, and I do not top the trees.

philosopher's avatar

@BeenThereSaidThat
My house is 15 years old. The builder worked with a younger builder the son of an investor. My husband and the younger man became friends. The city allowed them to remove a certain number of trees. He was told he could not remove the one on the side of my home. They say this is done to preserve the environment. I agree with conservation but, this is over done. It is my property. I pay taxes on it.
My neighbor purposely killed a tree on the property line and I had to get permission to remove it.
@gailcalled I wish I could use your person.
Thank you everyone for the information.

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