Part of being an owner of a home or land is the realization that there are several potential liabilities involved, not the least of which can be the trees on a specific property. While an active living tree is obviously a great addition to an urban or rural landscape, the owner must understand that certain situations, their beloved tree may actually be dangerous and capable of causing physical injury or property damage if not treated correctly. In these cases, the person could find themselves on the wrong end of a lawsuit if they have not taken the appropriate measures.
The concept of tree risk management is based on using the superior knowledge of an arborist to determine whether a tree presents a risk. In a single home situation, the certified arborist consultant will examine problem areas, such as trees that straddle the line between two properties or those that have the potential of falling into a street. After investigating the health of the trees, advice will be given to the owner as to how they can be better protected against a tree-related problem.
The same is true on a much larger scale with city parks, trees planted on roadways, and other public spaces. In most cases, the tree serves many purposes, including adding beauty to the landscape. However, the same liability applies in these situations, with the burden falling on the organization or agency that effectively owns the trees. If a tree should fall and cause damage to a parked car, then the agency will be responsible for compensation to the injured party.
In understanding tree risk management, an owner, whether it be a person or government agency, will need the assistance of a professional landscape consultant to determine whether there is a significant risk involved with a given tree or set of trees. Unfortunately, realization of this need only comes after an accident has happened and a lawsuit has already been filed. Even at this stage, a certified arborist can be enlisted to bring to light the facts of whether the owner is at fault for the accident or whether it was due to other concerns. For an owner that wants to avoid the problems of a tree-related lawsuit, it may be a good idea to call one of these specialists and ask for their expert opinion in advance.
What Is Tree Risk Management?