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What are my trees worth?

(This information is from the ISA web site

Almost everyone knows that trees and other living plants are valuable. They beautify our surroundings, purify our air, act as sound barriers, manufacture precious oxygen, and help us save energy through their cooling shade in summer and their wind reduction in winter.

However, many people don’t realize that plants have a dollar value of their own that can be measured by competent plant appraisers.

If your trees or shrubs are damaged or destroyed, you may be able to recapture your loss through an insurance claim or as a deduction from your federal income tax.

Here is some practical advice that may help you find out what your trees and plants are worth.

Planning for Highest Value
A professional in the tree, nursery, or landscape industry can help you plan, develop, install, and care for all of your trees and plants so that each of them will be worth more to you.

How Your Trees and Shrubs Are Evaluated
Seek the advice of professionals in this field who have developed a set of guidelines for the evaluation. These guidelines have been widely adopted in the field and are recognized by insurance companies, the courts, and in some cases, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

What to Do If You Suffer Loss or Damage to Your Landscape Plants A casualty loss is defined by the IRS as “. . . a loss resulting from an identifiable event of sudden, unexpected or unusual nature.” This can include such things as vehicular accidents, storms, floods, lightning, vandalism, or even air and soil pollution.

If you suffer damage to trees or landscaping from any type of casualty, first consult your homeowner’s insurance policy to determine the amount and kind of coverage. Contact the insurance company to have an appraisal made by a competent tree and landscape professional who is experienced in plant appraisal. Have the appraisal made right after your loss or damage. The tree and landscape appraiser accomplishes many things for you. The professional can see things you might miss, help correct damage, and prescribe remedies you may be able to do yourself. The appraiser will establish the amount of your loss in financial terms, including the cost of removing debris and making repairs as well as replacements. All of this is a wise investment, and well worth the cost you may incur for the inspection.

Four Factors in Professional Evaluation of Trees and Other Plants

1. Tree size Sometimes the size and age of a tree are such that it cannot be replaced. Trees that are too large to be replaced should be evaluated by professionals who use a specialized appraisal formula.

2. The kind of tree (or its classification). Choose the species for its utility and adaptability. Tree values vary according to your region, the “hardiness” zone, and even state and local conditions. If you are not familiar with these variables, be sure your advice comes from a competent source.

Trees that are hardy, durable, highly adaptable, and free from objectionable characteristics are most valuable. They require less maintenance; they have sturdy, well-shaped branches, and pleasing foliage.

3. Condition of the tree The professional will also consider the condition of the plant. Obviously, a healthy, well-maintained plant will have a higher value. Roots, trunk, branches, and buds need to be inspected before determining tree condition.

4. Location of the tree There are functional considerations as well as aesthetic. This is where location factors into the evaluation. A tree in your yard may be worth more than one growing in the woods. One standing alone will often have a higher value 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. The site, placement, and contribution of a tree help determine the overall value of the plant attributable to location.

All of these factors can be measured in dollars and cents. They can determine the value of a tree, specimen shrubs or evergreens, and whether for insurance purposes, court testimony in lawsuits, or for tax deductions.

What is the Trunk Formula Method of Tree Appraisal?

An article by Scott Cullen, RCA, a consulting arborist from Connecticut. The article presents a discussion of the Trunk Formula tree appraisal method, and some of the ramifications of its use. (Read the Report)

This link has been taken directly from the website: Tree Tech

All credit for posting this article on Tree Appraisal should go to Consulting Arborist Russ Carlson, a Board Certified Master Arborist and Registered Consulting Arborist of Tree Tech Consulting. Credit for writing the article itself should go to ASCA Registered Consulting Arborist Scott Cullen.

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