Angie's List: Tree maintenance and removal

LEWISTON, ID - If you have a tree that didn't quite fall over but was damaged or you're worried one more storm might finish the job, you may want to have it taken out.

In today's Angie's List report... What to do if your tree is on its last limb.

"Proper tree maintenance is important from a liability standpoint for homeowners," said Angie's List Owner, Angie Hicks. "You may not realize, but if you have a tree that falls and damages someone else's property you are going to be responsible so you want to take care of them when you see the first need."

"Over the course of the last two years we had about 17 trees taken out, all Ash trees," said homeowner Troy Carpenter.

"What I recommend to extend the life of a tree would be frequent inspections by an Arborist," said Tree Service Contractor Rick Carter. "Somebody who can identify issues that again might not be detected by the untrained eye. If we can catch them early enough to where they may be treatable then obviously that gives us a greater opportunity. There's anything from defoliation to partial or complete defoliation of the tree to discoloration of the foliage to disfiguration of the leaves; sometimes leaves are curled - that could be signs of a certain diseases or potential other injuries."

"A lot of tree removal companies will charge by the foot of a tree," said Hicks. "For example, if $15 a foot, a 40 foot tree would cost $600 to remove. Keep in mind that price doesn't always include taking the stump out so be sure to ask about that in particular if that's important to you."

"Luckily we have a handful of trees that are not Ash trees and so it hasn't completely made us tree-less," said Carpenter. "We still do have some shade, but it's definitely changed the look of things."

Tree removal is highly technical and dangerous and should only be done by an experienced professional. Before hiring, ask for proof of insurance and licensing. And be sure all details of the project, including services and costs, are outlined in the contract before signing.