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Smart Real Estate

Having a Home Inspection? Don’t Forget the Trees





When you buy a home, a professional inspection is a standard part of the process, designed to reveal any potentially dangerous and costly problems that may not be evident to the untrained eye, such as faulty electrical wiring or hidden mold.

But there’s more to inspecting a property than the actual home itself. According to the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA), it’s just as important to know the quality and safety of large trees on the property, as a mammoth branch coming through the roof during the first storm spent in your home is a problem no new homeowner wants to deal with.

While beautiful, mature trees are probably part of what drew you to a property in the first place, the experts at TCIA advise inspecting the trees for the following issues. They could be telltale signs of an imminent problem:

- Poor past care or previous topping
- Improper planting
- Too much mulch on the root system
- Damage during construction
- Wrong tree in the wrong place
- Insect or disease damage
- Overwatering from the lawn's irrigation system, or limbs rubbing on the siding or roof

Dying or decaying trees are usually easy to spot, especially when foliage is out, but you’ll need a qualified arborist to identify some of the above problems, such as healthy-looking trees with structural defects. A professional arborist can also provide advice about the future maintenance of trees on the property to help stave off long-term problems.

Taking action on tree issues sooner than later is a wise course of action before they result in more serious and expensive problems. As Lew Bloch, a registered consulting arborist in Potomac, Md., says, "Large trees are usually an asset and a valuable amenity to the property, but weak, damaged or diseased trees are actually liabilities."