Landlords have a handful of obligations towards their tenants, but most of them involve maintaining certain standards of habitability. If the landlord’s responsibilities are limited to ensuring the safety and comfort of a home, then tree pruning shouldn’t be included, should it?
If you’re stumped, keep reading to find out if pruning on your rental property should be your responsibility or your tenant’s.
Is Pruning the Same as Trimming?
The terms are often used interchangeably, but there is actually a difference between ‘pruning’ and ‘trimming’. When you are pruning a tree or shrub, you are removing the dead, diseased, or weak branches that may be a danger to other plants, property, and people. On the other hand, when you are trimming a tree or shrub, you’re tidying it up and giving it a nicer appearance.
What are the Types of Pruning or Trimming?
Not many landlords and property managers know that there are various types of tree trimming. Below are some of the options that you may have:
#1 Dead Pruning
Also known as crown cleaning, the process of dead pruning involves removing dead and diseased branches. It enhances the overall shape of the tree, giving it a clean-cut appearance. Considered the most “basic” type of pruning, it is a popular choice among property owners who want to make their tree more appealing to prospective tenants.
#2 Crown Thinning
Crown thinning involves removing unwanted branches to “lighten” the canopy. It improves air circulation within the tree and allows more sunlight to be absorbed. Be careful when performing crown thinning, as removing too many branches may result in a wonky structure of the tree.
#3 Crown Lifting
In crown lifting, the branches at the lower part are removed to reduce the tree’s overall mass. Crown lifting is often done to remove branches that may be blocking sidewalks and roads. It is also ideal for removing branches that may be putting the home at risk of damage.
#4 Crown Reduction
Sometimes referred to as ‘hazard trimming’, crown reduction removes branches that may be a danger during hurricanes, tornadoes, and so on. It’s best to hire a professional who understands the tree’s growth pattern so that it will continue to grow without decay after pruning.
What are the Advantages of Pruning Trees and Shrubs?
#1 It improves the health of the trees.
Although an overgrown tree may look like something taken straight out of a fantasy book, without proper pruning, it will not be able to absorb the nutrients from the soil. Pruning removes dead and diseased branches that may be preventing the tree from growing strong and healthy.
#2 It exposes the tree to more sunlight.
Large trees offer plenty of shade, but that isn’t always a good thing. Tree leaves must undergo the process of photosynthesis which requires sunlight. If the tree has too many branches that are blocking the sun, the tree won’t be able to get enough sunlight.
#3 It allows you to detect tree problems.
The only chance you will get to examine your tree is when you’re pruning it. The process of pruning allows you to detect diseases that may be eating up your tree. By detecting these diseases early, you may be able to stop them from spreading to the rest of the tree.
#4 It prevents damage to the property.
Trees that have been planted next to the house, garage, pool, etc. need to be pruned regularly to remove branches that could snap off and damage the property. You wouldn’t want to damage a million-dollar home just because you put off a hundred-dollar pruning job, would you?
On average, it costs $450 to prune a tree. If you’ve hired a property management company, chances are, you can negotiate a better price from their list of vendors.
#5 It protects residents and bystanders.
A tree with dead or diseased branches can become a safety hazard, especially if it is located next to a road, path, or sidewalk. Branches may snap suddenly, injuring the people who happen to be underneath the tree. To avoid liability, consider having your tree pruned every three to five years.
#6 It makes the tree look more appealing.
Unless your garden or yard is taking inspiration from “The Lord of the Rings”, it would be best to trim and prune your trees and hedges to give them a clean shape. Hiring a landscaping professional can help you achieve your desired appearance for your plants.
Who is Responsible for Pruning on a Rental Property?
Many landlords believe that tenants should be responsible for landscaping on a single-family rental home. Since tenants are responsible for basic yard upkeep, such as watering the plants, mowing the lawn, removing the weeds, etc., they should also be responsible for pruning trees and bushes, too — right?
Just like tree-trimming, pruning is the responsibility of the landlord. This is because putting the responsibility on tenants can be extremely dangerous. If the tenant climbs a 20-foot ladder, falls off, and breaks their leg, the liability will be on the property owner. For insurance purposes, it would be better to take care of all pruning activities on your rental property.
Additionally, tenants may not know how to properly prune trees and shrubs. Pruning is meant to enhance the appearance of plants, boosting the property’s overall curb appeal. When done incorrectly, healthy plants can become deformed, weakened, and worse — deceased.
As the owner, it should be your priority to protect your Florida investment property. When it comes to pruning, it pays to spend a couple of hundred dollars on professional pruning than to risk placing the responsibility on your tenants.
If you hire the property managers at Luxury Property Care, you can count on us to stay on top of all maintenance tasks — including yard upkeep. We have a network of reputable landscaping professionals who will ensure that your rental property’s garden looks immaculate all year round. Call us today at (561) 944 – 2992 or leave us a message through our contact form to learn more.