Your Home: It’s almost time to trim the trees


By Chad Taylor

As fall is quickly approaching, I wanted to offer a friendly reminder that we are not only approaching my favorite season of the year, but also the time when your trees need trimming.

One of the most unique characteristics of the older parts of town are the mature and majestic trees. In many cases, their canopy shades our streets, making for a lovely approach as you drive the neighborhood. Think about it: How many times do you see “tree-lined street” in an MLS listing? All the time. We Realtors wear that one out.

The reason tree-lined streets are mentioned so often is that they are a selling feature. Buyers love our beautiful trees. That is until the first time they have to rake their new yard.

Buyers are also becoming much more aware of the maintenance and care involved with having mature trees. The Emerald Ash Borer topic has certainly contributed to bringing tree care to light. Buyers are now seeing trees as a maintenance item as well as a beautiful aesthetic feature.

Even outside of a real estate transaction, mature trees are really an annual deferred maintenance project. The good news is that if you maintain your trees properly, the overall cost of pruning should go down over time and stay pretty low with annual attention. For example, when my wife and I purchased our home three years ago, we had our River Birch in our front yard trimmed and our three massive Pin Oaks in the back trimmed as well. That first year, our bill was a little over $2,000.

Please keep in mind, our trees had not been pruned in years, and we significantly raised the canopy on our River Birch to not only help our grass grow but also for security reasons.

This year, we just had Ryan Lawn and Tree out to assess our trees and our bid was $460. So after the first visit, the overall investment in your trees should lessen over time.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that after we had Ryan Lawn out that first year for our tree clean up, we had a winter storm and tree limbs were down all over the city. It was bad. And I am proud to say that we didn’t have one limb down on our property. I was so thankful. Unfortunately, one of our neighbors wasn’t so lucky. They had a major limb down on their roof that broke through the roof line. Yikes!

Which brings me to the main reasons why you should consider tree trimming. You often hear that that trees should be trimmed for the following reasons and in the following order:

  1. For safety. Trimming for safety refers to the removal of dead or damaged limbs that could fall and damage property or injure people. It can also refer to trimming trees back from your homes exterior or raising the canopy of trees that could create a blind spot where thieves can hide and neighbors cannot see them. Lastly, please keep in mind any limbs that hang over your home or power lines. These limbs should be monitored very closely for obvious reasons.
  2. For tree health. This is where an arborist is very important. Trimming the right limbs is a science. The goal is to remove dead or diseased limbs to improve the overall health of the tree. Removing healthy, live limbs can cause irreparable damage to a tree. Please consult a professional.
  3. For aesthetics. Based on what I have read, when you trim your trees for reasons one and two, in most cases, the aesthetics fall into place. The removal of dead or damaged growth tends to support the trees natural shape. You may choose to do a little extra trimming here and there, but in most cases it is not necessary.

Don’t wait too long to schedule your tree maintenance. The good companies book up quickly. And please do some research into the company first. Make sure that they have an arborist on staff who assesses the trees prior to trimming.

Before my wife, Leah, and I purchased our first home in Prairie Village, the previous owner had the trees trimmed back after an ice storm. Whoever did the work did it incorrectly and we had to remove two mature trees a couple of years later due to disease. It was heartbreaking. So please do your research. It is worth it in the long run.

This weekly sponsored column is written by Chad Taylor of the Taylor-Made Team and Keller Williams Realty Key Partners, LLC. The Taylor-Made Team consistently performs in the top 3 percent of Realtors in the Heartland MLS. Please submit follow-up questions in the comments section or via email. You can find out more about the Taylor-Made Team on its website. And always feel free to call at 913-825-7540.