Home Safety: The Importance of Tree Maintenance
When you purchased your home, you were probably attracted by the mature trees along your street. The trees on your property offer a peaceful feeling, cooling shade and an established look to your neighbourhood. They also provide shelter for local wildlife and produce much needed fresh air for the planet.
With all of these benefits, it is easy to overlook the potential hazard trees can present for your property. Whether your trees are large or small, you have to ensure you are providing regular tree maintenance to keep them healthy. Maintenance reduced the risk of damage to your property or your neighbours.
Although the right home insurance might cover damages, you have to be careful, and you understand how your policy works. Here are the reasons that tree maintenance is so important.
Canadian weather can be extremely threatening any time of year from lightning and high winds in the summer to ice storms and snow in the winter. Your trees can easily be damaged and pose an imminent threat to surrounding property. One of your best defences against fallen trees and branches is annual tree maintenance.
A tree expert will identify branches that require pruning and also make sure your tree is healthy enough to sustain high winds and heavy snow and ice. If not, they might advise you to cut the tree down.
Preparing for a Storm
Part of being prepared to weather a storm is ensuring your property does not increase the risk for accidents and damage. You can protect your property by doing the following:
- Have a tree expert assess the trees on your property and remove any trees that are dead or dying
- Support tree health by ensuring they receive enough water, fertilization and protection throughout the seasons
- Look for branches that should be pruned whether they are damaged, dead or low hanging to help maintain the structural integrity of your tree
- Have your tree expert check for signs of pests so your tree can be treated as many pests eat away at the trunk, making them less stable
Tree hollows can form in older trees forming a natural hole. They should be managed by a tree expert as if you over treat them or remove decayed wood it can make matters worse.
Safety is always a priority when it comes to tree maintenance. You should never climb a tree that might be unstable. You also don’t want to try to prune large trees as it can increase the risk of accidents. Cutting down large branches on your own could actually cause more harm than good without proper preparation and planning.
Seven Signs of Tree Issues
Seven common signs can signify potential tree issues, including:
- Damage such as cracks in the trunk or major limbs
- Mushroom growth
- Limbs in close proximity to power lines
- Overhanging branches over your house
Don’t be fooled by branches that aren’t touching your home, fence or power lines, as with the right winds; they can bend or break, causing damage quicker than you think.
Is tree maintenance legally required?
If you are the owner of the tree, you are responsible for maintenance. You must ensure the tree cannot pose a risk or hazard for your property or your neighbour’s. Your neighbour can trim anything overhanging in their property if they feel it raises an issue. However, rules do apply:
- They can only trim parts overhanging the property line
- They can’t enter your property without your permission
- In the case of an immediate threat that will cause irreparable damage, the neighbour can enter your property and remove the branches
- They can trim limbs but cannot touch the tree itself such as cutting the trunk or damaging the roots
- If the neighbour does choose to trim the tree, they are responsible for associated costs
Of course, these rules apply to you should you have an issue with a neighbour’s tree.
Can I be sued if my tree causes damage?
There are many scenarios where you could be liable for costs associated with damage or injury caused by your trees. This can include:
- Damages to someone’s property from a fallen tree including a neighbour’s home, fence or even a car parked near your property
- An accident that causes injury to someone on or near your property resulting from a fallen branch, or tripping on fallen branches and limbs proven to be from your tree
Of course, the injuries or damages have to be proven to have occurred due to your negligence, but it still puts you at risk.
If you love your trees, the good news is that tree maintenance will not only protect your home from damage but also help them to thrive. Properly cared-for trees will live happy, long lives providing you with a lifetime of enjoyment.
Having proper home insurance is also important when it comes to your property. We’ve helped thousands of Ontario homeowners find the ideal coverage for their unique needs based on their property, and the challenges you face in protecting it.
To learn more about protecting your home and family from accidents, call WB White at +1-877-727-0757 or contact us here.
Dan began his insurance career in 2016, however, he is lifetime dairy farmer. Born and raised on a dairy farm, Dan understands the unique challenges of the agriculture industry. Dan incorporates his technical knowledge of insurance to deliver practical advice and suggestions.
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