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Trees and Liability

7 years ago
last modified: 7 years ago

I've been going with friends who are looking for a small cottage in S FL. We recently saw one that was very cute, but the front yard contained the largest mahogany tree I have ever seen. The canopy was well pruned, but it would have taken three men to reach around the trunk.

Since hurricanes are a major consideration, this got me thinking. This tree, while not an official specimen tree, is very much on the city's radar and the penalty for doing anything to it would be severe. There is no possibility of removing the tree (and I would feel guilty anyway, since there are almost no big mahoganies left in Fl).

But they do occasionally break in hurricanes;

https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/100336

If something like this happened, it could conceivably crush one or two of the neighboring wood-frame houses, depending on how it fell. Does the property owner have liability in that situation? Would a tree like that affect your insurance rates?

I've never been in a situation like that, so I don't know. I do know that there is another house in the same town with a certified champion specimen tree of another species that has been on the market forever because nobody wants to deal with the tree.

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