What to do about trees

Way back in the 1980s, the legendary Mr. T moved to an old, genteel, upper-class neighborhood outside of his hometown of Chicago. What he did next horrified the city's residents. The tough, mohawk-styling celebrity cut down more than 100 oak trees on his estate, an event residents came to call “The Lake Forest Chain Saw Massacre.”

Apart from Mr. T and a few other people, who doesn’t love trees in their yard — such as a tall, majestic oak or a stately pine?  

The unfortunate truth is that while trees may add value to your property, bring shade in the summer and are just fantastic additions to any home, they do come with some problems. 

If you’ve found a cute house nestled beneath a grove of old trees, here are some tree maintenance issues and potential headaches you might want to be aware of.

  • Root problems. A tree’s root system can cause a lot of problems, and you might not even know it. The biggest concern is roots that grow into your sewer and water lines, leading to costly repairs and disastrous backups. A service such as Roto-Rooter can do a lot to clear out the inside of a pipe, but an additional concern is roots on the outside breaking into the pipe. This is particularly worrisome with older clay septic systems.  
  • Damage to house. Strong winds or heavy snowfall can cause a branch to snap. Many don’t realize that some branches can weigh hundreds of pounds. One of these can do serious damage to your windows and roof. In the worst cases, falling branches can do structural damage to the home.
  • Pests. Carpenter ants can often be an issue with trees. If these pests are left unchecked, they can quickly infest your home. The only good part about this is that contrary to popular belief, these ants don’t eat wood, so they aren’t as bad as having termites. Still, they’re pretty awful!
  • Cost for removal. It’s heartbreaking to have to cut down a big, sick tree. Once you see the bill, you’ll be even more heartbroken. Because of the logistics involving tight spaces, local ordinances and insurance costs, removing a tree in a residential suburban or urban area is much more expensive than in rural zones. 

We don’t want to discourage you from looking for a home with beautiful trees on the property. Many people never have issues with falling branches or pests. 

One of the best things you can do to ensure that your trees stay healthy and that you and your home stay safe is to have any tree's branches trimmed every few years and to have a professional arborist asses the tree's health.

To learn more about buying a home, talk to a Coldwell Banker Hedges Realtor® today. They know the Cedar Rapids area well and can help you navigate the market.


Blog Archives