Removing a Tree

When treatment options are impractical, trust our team of tree care professionals to dismantle that tree over your shed, pool, or house safely. Crown Down has defused hazard tree scenarios of all kinds. From 100+ foot poplars over houses to 7 foot diameter white oaks stretching over roads, we are the pros our clients have told us time and again that they wish they had called first.

Climbing inspection of a rear-yard hickory over a house and deck leading to a recommendation for removal.

Making the Decision to Remove vs. Treat Your Tree

Trees are valuable, but so is the rest of your property! Crown Down will inspect your tree and give careful consideration for all options that achieve our client's objectives. Trees that are dead, dying, too large for their space or are damaged beyond the tree's ability to recover from a major wound pose significant risk to safety and should almost always be removed however, the decision is not always straightforward. Crown Down offers Climbing and Aerial Drone Inspections and ISA Tree Risk Assessments that can shed more light on your tree's condition to arm you with you the most information possible before undertaking a costly removal and in most cases, the inspection can be credited toward the cost of the removal! As always, ground-level visual inspections and verbal recommendations are a part of the free estimates we offer to all of our clients!

Removing a large pine snag that leaned over a narrow boat channel.

Dead Trees (Snags)

Trees that are dead (or dying) and decomposing while still standing are referred to as "snags." Snags are often extremely dangerous to remove, even by trained professionals, and require specialized tools, equipment and knowledge to remove safely. The longer a tree in this condition is allowed to stay in place, the more difficult, unsafe and technical the removal process can become which can translate to higher removal costs for the tree's owner.  Removing a tree while it is still alive or shortly after it has expired is almost always the best course of action in residential or commercial settings where risk of property damage or personal safety is a factor.

Large white pine dividing two properties.

Removing Boundary Trees  (Shared Trees or Party Trees)

Trees that are located on a property line are considered shared and come with some additional considerations when pruning or removing. If you wish to remove a tree that is shared, getting written approval is an easy way to ensure that the removal project will not come back to haunt you in the future. Crown Down utilizes a tried and tested system of obtaining property access agreements, written permission from all parties that share ownership for the removal of a shared tree, and will even provide license and insurance information to all parties that are involved!

GIS Map showing the location of two target trees that were owned by an HOA in a neighboring parcel.

Removing Trees That Are Not Yours

In every case, removing a tree that does not belong to you will require the permission. Rare circumstances where a tree poses clear and imminent risk and a neighbor is unwilling or uncooperative in removing a tree, it may be necessary to obtain a court order under Virginia Code § 18.2-140 but this should be your last resort. Even on sites where the land is owned by a local government or an HOA that you are part of, it is always recommended that you obtain written permission from the landholder to avoid tort liabilities or even a misdemeanor! Crown Down utilizes GPS and GIS mapping in every county we service to determine current ownership of the target tree(s). If necessary, we will even contact the owners on your behalf if the tree is a danger to you or your property! In many cases, simply offering to pay for the service in whole or part may make your neighbor more amenable to that tree's removal.

In instances where a standing tree is causing "actual damage" to your property (eg. roots growing in to your septic lines), you may have limited legal recourse. Speaking to our trained arborist will be your first step before consulting with legal counsel.
If a neighbor's tree has fallen across your property line, speak to your insurance representative first and consult our Storm Damage Cleanup page for more information!

GIS Map showing the location of two target trees that were owned by an HOA in a neighboring parcel.

Is It My Responsibility To Remove A Tree On My Property?

You might be wondering if it's your job to remove a tree on your property. The answer isn't always straightforward. If you have a tree that might be unsafe, it's almost always a good idea to consider removing it. This step is not just about keeping your own yard safe and enjoyable. It's also about safeguarding yourself from potential legal issues.
In Virginia, the rules about trees and neighbor disputes can be pretty nuanced and depend largely on things like where the tree is, the tree's health, and whether there's a real chance it could fall or cause damage. If a tree on your property could be a hazard to others, dealing with it early can help you avoid legal issues later on.

If your community has an HOA or the city, town or county you live in is citing your tree or giving notice that the tree must be removed, they should be sending written notice that will better help you to understand why your tree is coming under scrutiny. Consulting with the local laws, community rules or HOA bylaws will further clarify the reason for these citations. If you are still in doubt about whether you have a responsibility to remove a tree, the first step is always consulting with an arborist to determine whether its necessary. Your arborist will have detailed knowledge of a given tree's species that will be necessary to determine how risky the tree is in its current condition, age and location and may even be able to provide an alternative solution to the tree's complete removal using objective-based Pruning .

What are some reasons for removing a tree?

Aside from trees that have died, trees are removed because they:

-May become a hazard to the property or people they are in proximity to.

-Are the wrong tree for the space due to size or shape.

-Must make way for new construction, landscaping or infrastructure.

-Are too close to pre-existing structures and may cause future damage.

-May cause damage to utilities or property due to underground roots or trunk width (eg. trees that are beginning  to push a fence over as they increase in size).

-Are a nuisance due to reproductive processes (eg. dropping of gumballs, walnuts, etc.).

-Are hosting pests that are themselves a nuisance or may become a danger to other trees in the landscape.

How much does it cost to remove a tree and what are the factors that make it more or less expensive?

In most cases, the average price to remove a tree will be anywhere $400 and $1200 but will vary wildly in price based on a few factors. The individual factors that dictate the cost of a removal are legion but the factors that have the most influence on price are almost always the time needed to remove the tree and the type of equipment required. Some more specific examples of factors are: 

-Access to the removal site. Is the tree in a front yard, back yard? What is the availability of street parking?

-Proximity of the tree to structures. Is the tree over a house/shed/pool? 

-Necessity of special tools and rigging equipment required for the removal.

-How much clean up is involved after the tree is down. 

-Disposal costs of the waste material.

-Client preferences for the extent of turf repair and optional extra services such stump grinding.

When is the best time to remove a tree?

Trees can be removed at nearly any time of year without a major (if any) difference in cost. Many clients share the belief that the total cost of a removal is less in the winter because the tree does not have leaves but rarely is this a factor. Crown Down keeps our clients' best interest in mind by keeping removal costs as low as possible and informing them of any potential savings as they relate to your removal.
Trees that must be removed on short notice will be constituted as "Emergency Removals" and are subject to additional fees for off-hours mobilization and over-time that must be paid. We recommend that if there is an option to safely wait for these removals that our clients do so to avoid unnecessary expense. In most cases, Crown Down can abate the safety risk and return for clean up, saving our clients hundreds (even thousands) of dollars for an emergency removal. 

How do I know if my tree is dying?

Leaf loss in large parts of the canopy, black lesions along the length of the trunk, bark peel and presence of fungus are all indicators of a tree that is, at very least, in distress. Often the best indicators of a tree that is dying or diseased is how they present in comparison to other trees in the area. We recommend that if you notice anything out of the ordinary with your tree that you give us a call to have an arborist inspect the tree and give a recommendation for what can be done before pursuing a removal option!