Tree Care Guide for Property Managers

Whether managing a single property or a portfolio of properties, your daily array of tasks is dizzying, to say the least. It could be easy to overlook or delay evaluation of the trees on commercial properties. It is important to note that proper maintenance and care of trees is essential to limit your liability and boost the value of the property.

To assist property managers, I will lay out a quick guide to help with planning arboricultural (This is a nerdy way to say tree) decisions. Trees are difficult to predict, but Arborists have gathered methods of inspection to discover problems before they arise. This is done through proper planning and maintenance especially when building structures are involved. An arborist can also help balance between what needs to get worked on immediately vs later.

Importance of Safety

Tree risk assessments are used by an arborist to determine whether a tree or group of trees are safe. With most decisions, safety outweighs everything else. It is especially important to maintain a safe environment in high traffic areas. This means that playgrounds, walkways, parking lots and other areas high frequented areas should be pruned for deadwood. Deadwood is the usual suspects when limbs fall because they are losing structural integrity.

The physics behind gravity and weight means falling tree limbs can cause serious injury and damage. For example, a 3” maple tree branch that is 5 feet long could weigh up to 12 pounds. But if it falls 6 feet, then it can have an impact of over 80 pounds. Imagine 80 pounds falling on your head. I know it seems alarmist, but there are incidents and cases where this has been the focal point.

It is also important that large trees with large trunks that go straight up are checked up on a routine basis. In my experience with tree climbing and storm damage, I can attest that trees exposed to high winds or severe storms can cause major damage. This is because the added momentum when they fall increases the force of impact. Think about the example of the 12-pound tree branch. Now contemplate the damage from a 2,000 to 20,000-pound tree. Dead trees are obvious candidates for damage, but it is equally important to evaluate trees that appear healthy.

It is also important to evaluate what less obvious factors. Tree stumps might not be readily apparent and therefore pose a trip hazard. Consider that children like playing on the grassy areas and often don’t pay attention to their surroundings. A tree stump could cause a skinned knee or worse, a broken arm if they tripped and fell. Tree roots on some species of trees can grow into pipes and sometimes foundations leading to serious structural damage.

Another key consideration is personal safety of residents and visitors. Tress provide great shade during the day. Unfortunately, they can also create dark places at night that lead to undesirable circumstances. Making sure that branches don’t block parking lot or street lights is important. Property security is improved with well-lit walkways and parking lots.

Curb Appeal

A tidy property can make or break a decision for a prospective tenant or renter. Landscaping does play a huge role in this discussion but today I will highlight tree pruning for aesthetics. On larger trees you want to go beyond removing dead or dying limbs. Lower water sprout or sucker growth often looks out of place so those too should be removed. Thinning overgrown trees can boost the appearance of a canopy. These regular prunings make the trees and property more attractive.

Vista pruning is also important if the property is near water or other natural views. This is where we remove select limbs to improve the view of the surrounding area. Whatever tree operation is performed the timing of pruning and clean pruning cuts are a must. Poor pruning cause can cause more harm than good.


I often see issues with improperly placed trees. Therefore, planning before planting new trees is important. Having a tree in the wrong place will end up costing you more in the end. The result being a tree dies or doesn’t live to its full potential.

It’s also important to mitigate any risk that current trees pose to a property. It’s important to handle any tree issues before they start while maintaining optimal canopy coverage. An arborist can create short terms and long-term assessments. This helps with setting the priority of tasks needed to have a safe and maintained area. They can even recommend removing and replanting younger tress before they pose a threat.

Beyond the initial evaluation, an arborist should perform follow up assessments every two years. Having a continuous plan for tree maintenance is vital. There are so many positive benefits to us from trees that we must preserve them while handling safety concerns when they come up. GV has an overwhelming amount of experience working for both commercial properties and local governments. Let us help you embrace the benefits of trees while protecting your property from tree damage as much as possible.

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