I love love love trees. In fact, when people talk about being “an ocean person” or “a mountain person”, my answer is “I am a tree person.”
So I, like so many who have made the move from the concrete urbs to the verdant suburbs considered the increase of trees a great perk. Which it is. Until one falls on your house.
A few years ago I was working in the upstairs home office of our 1913 colonial when I heard a resounding crack followed by a noise that had serious base. A boom with extra depth. It was a bad noise. It was a close noise. It was a noise that was unmistakably attached to some sort of very nearby disaster. My son was downstairs in what Maplewoodians call the “Maplewood room” and my heart was in my throat as I ran down the stairs to find him. He was looking out the window agog. A large tree limb had fallen clear through the deck. Thank goodness it hadn’t fallen on us.
Upon further evaluation, it actually wasn’t *that* bad. I mean, it could have been much worse. It always could, right? My second thought was wondering what insurance would cover and then my third thought was a reflection of our dear friend’s tree disaster a few years prior which was much more harrowing. A trunk-sized limb had crashed through their attic into their second-floor landing right through the center of the house. The fact that no one was hurt was ridiculously fortunate. “It was terrifying. The sound of it. We were on the second floor when it came through and we ran down to the basement while debris was falling from the ceiling. Our kids were little at the time and we were trying to remain calm, but it was very scary, and it happened at the height of the storm (Sandy), so nobody could help us.” Says Maplewood resident, Natalie Moore.
Falling trees/limbs/branches are not uncommon – city life is not exempt either. You probably can’t toss a branch without hitting someone who has suffered tree damage or knows someone who has. And my intention is not to induce fear unnecessarily, but to point towards certain tree considerations when purchasing a property.
Look at the trees. Are any dead? Are there dead branches on any of them? Are there trees very close to the house? One could easily go with that if a tree looks healthy and has survived the past 10 years’ bounty of hurricanes and storms, everything should be ok until the tree’s health starts to fail. But frankly, as our climate changes, we really don’t know what’s to come. If you have concerns, have a tree specialist evaluate.
Should you be the recipient of tree damage, your homeowner’s insurance will likely cover it, though there may be certain limitations having to do with how the tree falls. Call your agent right away – you will want them to cover the removal of the tree as well as the damage.
Meanwhile, swinging back to the benefits, enjoy basking in the shade of your trees, marveling at the intricacy of branch patterns and enjoying the colors of the season offered up by these incredible life forms.