In a perfect world, you would notice a tree needs to come down, and your neighbor, your homeowners association and the city would all agree with you, and the tree would be permitted without a hitch, right?


But sometimes, that old tree is on your neighbor’s property, and even though the branches are hitting your gutters and it’s leaning ominously over your garage, they are being predictably stubborn, irritable or nasty about it, and refuse to even consider pruning or removal. Sometimes, too many trees have been removed in your section of the city recently, and the city development organization has denied your permit. What’s a homeowner to do???


Why, call your friendly Boutte Tree arborist, of course!


One of the most frequent tasks our arborists perform is writing what is called an arborist letter. Arborist letters are a documentation of the property, the condition of the tree, and recommendations for tree work, and can be used to convince neighbors and HOAs to take down trees, and are sometimes required by county and city tree removal permit offices.


To write an arborist letter, there are generally five or six essential components. First, Boutte Tree arborists go out to the property, just like they are writing a proposal, and note down the details like an address, parcel number, reason for the letter, that can be used either in a legal document or when dealing with the relevant bureaucracy. Next, they will do a site observation: they’ll look at the landscape, the other trees in the area, and the incline of the property. Third, they will create a table or a summary that details all the information about the affected trees: the girth, the vitality, and any projected construction impact, or impact of the tree on the surrounding architecture. This is a quick summation of what follows next, the individual tree analysis, which will have all kinds of details about how many trunks the tree has, the likely causes of death, insect spread risks, the immediate topographical impact, etc.


The arborist may include a discussion section which will include information not already covered, and then will usually make recommendations for how the relevant party (the HOA, your obnoxious neighbor, the city bureaucracy) should address the tree troubles.  An arborist will usually include 3-5 full color photos with the letter, along with a site plan that draws a picture of the property and relevant trees.


An arborist letter is not a guarantee that work will be completed, but it’s a good first step towards getting an immovable neighbor or a sluggish bureaucracy to pay attention and fix the issue themselves.

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