Living with trees, and enjoying the many benefits that they provide, requires also accepting a certain degree of risk. All trees will eventually fall down and both private property owners, and municipal governments, have a responsibility to manage tree-related risk. Having a well-documented inspection program of the trees on your property, designed to identify any structural problems of the crown, trunk or roots, will not only reduce the risk of living near trees, but will help limit tree-related liability as well. Mr. Plunkett is Tree Risk Assessment Qualified (TRAQ) by the International Society of Arboriculture.
A periodic inspection of the trees on your property, conducted by a properly qualified arborist, can often identify health or safety issues that you might not otherwise be aware of. Early identification and treatment of such issues is the key to keeping your trees healthy, attractive, and safe.
Depending on the size, age, value, and location of your trees, a detailed professional inspection should be conducted every 1-5 years. A property inspection to identify any declining or hazardous trees should also be carried out when considering the purchase of a new home or property.
To ensure the accuracy and objectivity of the assessment employment of an independent consulting arborist is usually preferable to relying on the familiar "free estimate" offered by many general tree service companies.
When a tree shows signs of stress or decline, such as thin or off-color foliage, branch tip dieback, or early fall color, quickly and accurately determining the cause is vital to increasing the tree's chance of recovery. Whether the problem is an insect, disease, or site factors, ISA Board Certified Master Arborist Christian Plunkett, will identify the underlying cause of the disorder and make expert recommendations for effective treatments based on his 14 years of plant health care education, experience and training.
Since Mr. Plunkett does not perform any of the treatments, or other general tree care services, that may be recommended, any conflict of interest concerns that tree owners might have about accepting tree care advice directly from the service provider are eliminated. Tree owners who retain Mr. Plunkett's consulting services can be sure that they are receiving a truly objective, independent opinion from an expert diagnostician.
Construction occurring near trees must be carefully planned to limit soil compaction and root damage, as well as broken branches and trunk abrasion, if the trees on site are to be retained. Mr. Plunkett works with developers and construction companies to determine how to best preserve desirable trees during site development, working with contractors from the planning stage, until construction is complete.
Mr. Plunkett uses GPS and GIS systems, along with traditional tree inventory equipment and methods, to accurately document the quantity, composition, and condition of the trees in a community or on an estate, allowing for management decisions to be made based on accurate and up to date information. The first step in developing any Community Forestry Management Plan is to conduct a tree inventory.
Depending on the tree species, condition, and location, a tree may have no monetary value at all, or it may be valued at tens of thousands of dollars. Mr. Plunkett uses industry recognized methods of tree appraisal, as described by the Guide for Plant Appraisal, 9th ed., authored by the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers, (CTLA) to determine the value of a tree. These methods of appraising tree value have been accepted by insurance companies and many courts of law.
Recognizing that trees are an asset to their community, many Municipalities have enacted Tree Ordinances that regulate the management of the trees under their jurisdiction. It is often illegal and punishable by law to remove, kill, or damage a street or other public tree. Failure to adhere to the stipulations of the Tree Ordinance may lead to fines and/or criminal penalties. Mr. Plunkett assists developers, contractors, tree companies, and other parties in navigating any regulations that may exist in the municipalities in which they operate.
Care must be taken during all types of tree work to adhere to Industry standards. A single instance of improper pruning can initiate a cascade of health and structural problems that will decrease the health, and increase the liability, of that tree for as long as it stands. A tree that is planted incorrectly, over-mulched, or is simply the wrong species for a particular site, has a greatly reduced chance of long-term survival. Mr. Plunkett monitors tree planting, pruning, and other tree care activities, to ensure that project specifications, industry standards of care, and best management practices are followed at all times.
Properly written specifications help ensure that planting, and other tree care work, is performed in a systematic and consistent manner. Mr. Plunkett starts with the ANSI A300 Tree Care Standards and tailors your specifications to your individual situation.
Mr. Plunkett assists lawyers, and other parties preparing for litigation, with expert opinion on tree issues and has been admitted as an expert witness in NJ Courts of Law.