Recently our company was approached by a local municipality about conducting a tree survey. This particular city has no tree care plan or even idea of the health and well being of the trees in their care. As I explained the process of developing an inventory and management plan, the importance of a complete tree inventory was once again impressed upon me. Not only does a tree survey help a municipality with the many, many trees they are responsible for, but it also can help home owners. Despite its thoroughness, a tree survey is rather easy to conduct when weighted against the benefits which include: a full knowledge of the condition of the trees in your care, a guide to follow to implement proper tree care, and a reduction in the overall time and effort spent maintaining the trees.
Now most folks who own their own property would probably balk at the idea of spending any amount of effort/money to correctly inventory their trees, but it is important none-the-less. A tree inventory/survey allows the owner to visualize the hazards and health of a structure that can be both a liability and an asset. When a survey is done, each and every tree (as specified) is identified, numbered, and scored for the hazard it may impose. For example, a healthy and mature oak tree can add between $1500-$3000 to overall property value. The key word being "healthy". That same tree, when in a location to cause injury or damage, could fail and cost the home owner many times more than its estimated worth. A tree survey could have identified any known risk and provided the owner with a guide to properly addressing it.
How can a survey provide the owner with a guide to properly caring for and maintaining his or her trees? Essentially the survey is a map of your yard showing which trees are healthy and which ones are not; which trees need just little maintenance and which ones need none; the ones that need to be removed due to impending failure and which ones can stay. This knowledge coupled with ANSI standards for tree care are a road map for the home owner to address what needs done. This allows effort to be applied directly where it is needed most and not wasted where it doesn't. In the long run a home owner, armed with a tree survey, will spend less money and time on their tree care and more time reaping the benefits of having healthy, and structurally sound, trees around.
Having the results of a tree survey in your hand allows you to prioritize tree care needs without needing the expertise and experience required to recognize those needs. Most people do not know the signs a tree exhibits when in need of care. They don't need to be able to either if they have a professional put the results of a tree survey in their hand. The survey acts as a checklist for the homeowner to go through and as time goes by less and less maintenance will be needed. This happens because if a tree is pruned properly it will continue to grow on healthy wood in a safe manner and not just willy-nilly with the hopes nothing will go wrong.
At the end of the day having a tree survey just makes sense. It is a life plan for the assets that make up the urban forest your yard encompasses. So call a professional and see about having a survey done, it can only save you money.