Before you buy your next house, have the trees inspected

You would never think about buying a house without having the roof, plumbing or electrical inspected. What about the trees at the home of your dreams, did you have them inspected?

It is that majestically wonderful, mature shade tree in the backyard that really sold you on the house. You’re dreaming about sitting under this tree in the summer and having barbecues with the family. It will be a delightful spot. But, is it really a safe tree?

Then, after you purchase the home you call in arborist to have your tree trimmed. The arborist notifies you that the tree has multiple structural issues that deem it a safety hazard and you need to remove the tree. The cost for removing the tree could run into the thousands! Now, not only have you lost your prized shade tree—the whole reason you bought the house—but it’s going to cost you thousands of dollars to remove it! Your idyllic backyard is now becoming a money pit and the sweltering sun is cooking all your dreams of lazing around the backyard enjoying the cool shade of the magnificent tree.

Hiring an ISA certified arborist to inspect the trees before you buy a house could save you money in the long run. An arborist could point out the positive aspects of the tree as well as any of the negative aspects, such as structural issues that may lead to limb failure or entire tree failure. The arborist may also identify disease or insect infestation. These issues could all be addressed and accounted for, if necessary, during your negotiations of the final purchase price for your new home.

Some of the things a Cerified Arborist will look for include:

  • Top-heaviness, e.g., as indicated by excessive swaying in the wind.
  • Lifting root plate, tearing out of roots, extensive root damage, or root loss.
  • Cracks or splits in trunk or large limb.
  • Broken trunks or large limbs.
  • Hanging broken large limbs.
  • Large amount of decay in a trunk or large limb.
  • Forks involving big limbs that show signs of weakness or possible failure at the center of the fork, e.g., cracks, bark-to-bark contact,
  • Hollows that may be full of decay
  • Bulging growth
  • Fork failures, leading to shed branches
  • Signs that the tree is in poor health, or may be dying, e.g., smaller than normal leaves, dead leaves in summer, dead limbs, much fungal growth.
  • Cuts and other indications that the tree may have been damaged by machinery, vehicles, or construction

Having established trees inspected during the purchase of a home is important because you can avoid the expense of taking down trees that are unsafe after you purchase the home. Although a tree inspection does not guarantee that your tree will never die at the least you can get a general idea of the health of the tree and plan accordingly.