HOA Tree Management: Your Arborist Matters

If trees are assets to our community, who will do the best job managing and protecting them?

October 9, 2020  |  Troy Ruiz

urban tree canopy goals along a tree lined city street

If you’re looking to hire a tree service contractor for your HOA, you’re going to be using different criteria to make your selection such as price, reputation, and industry certifications. For some, price carries far more weight in the decision process than the others, which is understandable. No one wants to pay too much for a service, especially when you’re trying to be a good steward of the money community members pay in HOA dues.

Before letting price have too much influence over the decision, consider asking yourself this:

“If trees are assets to our community, who will do the best job managing and protecting them?”

A Certified Arborist Matters

Sure, the cheapest contractor can also be the best for the job, but to be certain check on a few things first. Ask the contractor if they have certified arborists on staff.

Next, find out what kind of equipment they’re using to get the job done. As one saying goes “you’re only as good as the tools you use”. This doesn’t mean that your tree contractor needs to be using the latest and greatest, but they should be using tools that optimize work quality, safety, and efficiency.

In today’s modern world, tree care tools are not limited to chainsaws and bucket trucks. You should also find out what kind of technology the contractor uses, especially if the contractor is providing regular maintenance and care of your association’s trees.

urban tree canopy goals on a private campus versus public land
urban tree canopy goals on a private campus versus public land

Why should you care what technology your tree contractor uses? If you have a question about the trees in your association, whether it be one or several trees, you should be able to get an answer presented quickly and even visually. This can be done with a web-based platform that provides access to a map of the trees in your association given by your tree contractor.

Let’s consider the following example: considering the spread of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) as it continues to work its way across the country, you discover EAB has recently arrived in your community. If your contractor utilizes an efficient tree mapping application that uses GPS coordinates, based on the tree information they’ve collected and actively manage, it would be possible to see how many ash trees are within the bounds of your association, and perhaps even work performed on the tree such as injections or pruning schedule. If your association has a significant number of ash trees, both you and your contractor have something very powerful to proactively deal with potential threats to your assets and that’s data.

In HOA Tree Management: Technology Makes a Difference

 

You can’t manage what you don’t know, and while it’s possible to manage a tree population with less efficient data management methods, a great bet is a tree-specific software that is map-based, easily accessible from the field, and capable of visualizing and presenting information in a way that is clear and concise, regardless of whether or not you have much knowledge of arboriculture.

Technology like this also helps enhance communication that prevents mistakes. For example, let’s say a specific tree needs to be removed because it’s become a safety hazard. Instead of calling up your contractor with a potentially confusing location description of a tree with something like “please remove the third tree closest to the fire hydrant off of Main Street”, you can say “please remove tree number 157”. If there’s any confusion about the location of the tree from the former example, the wrong tree could be removed.

If the best contractor for the job is not the cheapest and you’re hesitant to spend the extra money, think about this: according to research from the Husqvarna Global Garden Report 2012, 63% of respondents in a survey reported being willing to pay more for an apartment or house if located in an area with good green spaces. This is compared with 34% who said they’d pay more for an area with good shopping and 33% who would do so for an area with good cultural venues. Additionally, according to Management Information Services/ICMA, landscaping, especially with trees, can increase property values by as much as 20 percent.

According to Management Information Services/ICMA, landscaping, especially with trees, can increase property values by as much as 20 percent.

HOA Tree Management and PlanIT Geo™

Ok, I know, you’re probably thinking “well of course trees make properties more desirable and enhance their value! I already knew that.” If you know this, then you also know how important it is to pick the tree service contractor that will take the best care of one of your community’s most important assets: its trees. Tree management technology is our specialty and we have worked with HOA tree management contractors across the country. We are here to answer your questions.

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