Deciding to invest in tree removal services can be a difficult decision for a number of reasons, ranging from the cost of tree removal to attachment to the plant itself. However, in many situations, the tree removal process is necessary to ensure the safety of your home, family, and innocent bystanders. Such is the case in San Francisco, where city officials recently re-evaluated its tree removal regulations in order to make it easier to remove old trees that might pose a threat to the public.
San Francisco has roughly 2,700 ficus trees on public streets, with about 1,400 owned and maintained by private citizens. As these trees have aged, many trees have lost their limbs, with at least one man being injured by falling branches. Because of this, San Francisco’s Department of Public Works has relaxed its tree removal requirements for these plants: ficus trees that may pose a threat will now be analyzed by a city arborist, who will issue removal notices to remove those that present a safety risk. Private owners will then be required to pay a removal fine and hire tree cutting companies to safely remove the ficus trees, which will then need to be replaced with a new plant. After a tree is declared unsafe, the public will be given 30 days to appeal the decision.
While some might object to this proposal because of the tree removal costs, which will cost at least $339 for every permit issued, the reduced danger will likely be worth the price: in November, one man was left with critical injuries after a heavy branch fell on him. He is currently recovering, but a number of other trees lost limbs in the weeks that followed, suggesting that he may not be the last person to be injured. Ficus trees are tall and have multiple trunks, making them more likely to collapse; to make matters worse, most of the trees that may be affected have been standing for 30 to 50 years, increasing the likelihood of structural problems.
Currently, city officials say they have no idea how many trees might need to be removed. However, experts have reminded residents that the tree removal process should always be undertaken by professional tree cutting companies: while the process may seem simple, tree cutting companies have the training and equipment necessary to prevent damage to nearby structures and prevent injuries. Meanwhile, officials are warning residents that their streets might look drastically different once a ficus tree is removed. Ultimately, however, their concern is keeping San Francisco’s streets as safe as possible to avoid further injuries.