Ask a Consulting Arborist Q&A: Tree Appraisal

Q: What's the value of 30 cypress trees that are 25 years old?

Thursday, December 31, 2015  

Q: We have 30 cypress trees along about 100 yards along the back of our lot that serve as a fence and buffer. The trees are 25 years old and in excellent shape. The Williams Gas Co. has a gas line about 12 feet south of the trees, and the utility says it must come down so it can dig up its line and service it. This will negatively impact the value of our property, as there is a school directly behind us. We are looking for a value on the trees.  Could you help us with a recommendation? We are in the Mooresville, NC, area.

A: Much of the answer to your question will depend on where the easement is located (exactly), where the trees are located in relation to the easement boundary, when the easement was taken, and the specific language and rights conferred upon the easement holder. Some utilities have rights and obligations that go well beyond the easement boundary. You may want to consider getting a survey done to determine where the trees are located in relation to the easement. You may also want to get a copy of the easement itself. An attorney can advise you on your legal rights. He may suggest that you get an experienced Consulting Arborist who can help you determine the appraised value of your amenity trees (if you are due compensation for them). An attorney may also advise you to get an opinion from a real estate appraiser who may be able to help you determine if you have experienced a loss in real-estate value which may or may not be needed in this situation.

Responder: Marty Shaw, RCA #470, Franklin, TN