As a Florida property owner, your responsibilities are not limited to the interior of the home, but also to its exterior. Landscaping maintenance is one of the most troublesome tasks for any landlord. Whether it’s mowing the grass or shaping intricate hedges, there’s a lot that you can do when it comes to yard maintenance.
However, there’s one maintenance task that should never be neglected: tree trimming.
Why is tree trimming necessary?
Many property owners neglect tree trimming because they think that it isn’t necessary. The reality is that regularly trimming your rental property’s trees does more than just boost your home’s curb appeal.
#1 It ensures safety
Property safety is the primary reason why you should remember to trim your trees. Dead branches can easily snap and fall onto sidewalks or roadways during storms and hurricanes, potentially hitting cars and affecting visibility. The worst-case scenario would be if the branches fall on tenants and pedestrians, causing them to be badly injured.
#2 It protects the home
During heavy winds, untrimmed branches can damage the siding of your property after continuously scraping against it. If your roof is directly underneath a tree, it may also be at risk of being destroyed due to falling branches. Instead of spending thousands of dollars on repairs, invest in professional tree trimming to ensure that these accidents don’t happen in the first place.
#3 It maintains the health of the tree
Trees are less likely to survive in the presence of dead or infested branches. Trimming or pruning enhances the health of the tree, as it removes diseased branches that may be interfering with the tree’s growth. In addition, pruning increases the airflow within the tree canopy, helping prevent leaf disease.
#4 It improves the appearance of the tree
Trees that do not undergo regular trimming can look misshapen. With branches sprouting off in different directions, trees can begin to look contorted and unkempt — almost like it came right out of a horror movie! Give the trees on your Florida rental property a “haircut” by enhancing their natural shape. Pruning cuts awkward branches, improving the overall appearance of your trees.
#5 It protects the rest of the yard
Overgrown trees can negatively impact the overall aesthetics of your yard. When branches are densely packed, they can block the sun, preventing plants from receiving their daily dose of sunlight. Similarly, overgrown branches barricade the rain from reaching the grass, impeding their growth. Don’t let your landscaping efforts go to waste and start trimming your trees!
How often should you trim the trees?
Tree trimming is similar to getting a haircut. You wouldn’t get a haircut if you just had one a week ago, would you? You would probably wait for your hair to grow significantly thicker or longer before scheduling an appointment with your barber or hairdresser.
When it comes to tree trimming, there are certain signs to look out for when deciding if its branches need to be removed. These include:
- Dead, damaged, diseased, or infested branches
- Weak tree crotches that are about to split
- Tree canopies that are too dense
- Low-growing branches that are directly above sidewalks, walkways, and driveways
- Uneven tree growth
Tree trimming can be done at any time, but keep in mind that some trees will require more frequent trimming than others. For instance, evergreen trees do not need to be pruned often. They are generally considered low-maintenance and will often shed the dead branches on their own.
On the other hand, oak trees require a strict trimming schedule. Trimming them every two to three years would be ideal if they’re still young. Similarly, fruit trees, such as apple trees, mango trees, and guava trees, need more attention than others. Trimming them yearly or during their dormant months can help boost their growth.
Who should foot the bill?
Most lease agreements will spell out the tenant’s responsibilities for yard maintenance, but they rarely include tree trimming. Even if the tenant agreed to take care of the landscaping, more of than not, their tasks are limited to simple activities such as mowing the lawn, watering the flowers, and pulling out the weeds.
Unless the lease agreement explicitly states that the tenant is responsible for tree trimming, then it is the landlord’s obligation — both legally and financially. Since tree trimming is considered property maintenance, it would make sense to place the responsibility onto the property owner.
Besides, it would be irresponsible to require the tenant to take care of tree trimming. Most tenants may not know what they’re doing, putting themselves (and your property) in danger. If your property only has small trees, it might be acceptable to let the tenants take matters into their own hands. However, if your rental property has big trees that are causing structural problems, as the landlord, you should be the one to provide a solution.
Should you do it yourself or call the professionals?
Generally, branches that are less than ten centimeters in diameter are considered “safe” to trim on your own. On the other hand, branches that are any larger than that may require the help of professionals.
While you may feel confident trimming the trees by yourself, it is recommended to hire a professional tree pruning company that has the right tools and techniques. Safety, for yourself, your tenants, and your property, should always be your primary concern. Since tree trimming requires you to climb a ladder, use power tools, etc., you may be putting yourself in danger if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Hiring a professional service may be expensive but it would be best to stay safe. Consider hiring a Florida property management company to help you connect with local vendors.
Because you can’t expect your tenants to trim the trees themselves, you should take proactive steps to ensure that your trees don’t pose a danger to property and people. At Luxury Property Care, we assist hundreds of clients by overseeing all of the maintenance works for their investment properties. Our team of property managers will take care of it all, from negotiating with vendors through to supervising the landscaping work.