Replace Trees

By Frances Powell

I’ve been concerned about the beautiful canopy of trees that give our neighborhood its desirable ambiance and which adds value to our homes.  In fact, one author I read in researching this article said one well-developed live oak can add as much as $30,000 dollars to your home.

So, what’s the deal with all the tree service crews taking down so many trees in the last couple of years?

It’s not just happening in Hidden Hills, tree cutting is taking place in urban areas all over Florida. That’s because after World War II laurel oaks were planted all over Florida for their shade, their attractive appearance, and their fast growth. Laurel oaks have a lifespan of about 60 years, so a great many of them are well into decline.

Laurel Oaks-not for the long term
Laurel and water oaks and other similar oak varieties grow so fast they outgrow their root system. Some people prune them so high they just leave the very top of the canopy, making them top heavy...not a good balance with their rather shallow root system.

Laurel and water oaks are not sturdy enough to withstand hurricane force winds. When they get over three feet in circumference, they may be hollow. Their wood is lightweight and good for firewood. When in decline, their limbs begin dropping off. All these issues mean you don’t want to park your car under a mature laurel oak.

The Solution-replace declining laurel oaks with live oaks!  
While laurel and water oaks may be good shade trees when they are young, the live oak is a much wiser choice. When you must remove a dying laurel oak, replace it with a live oak.

Live Oaks-good for several lifetimes
The hero of the Hidden Hills forest is the Live Oak. Live oaks are tough with very deep root systems. They can withstand hurricanes and they live to be 100’s of years old. Their wood is so dense and heavy that it was long prized for ship building. During the Civil War the U.S. Constitution’s ribs were made from live oak and was so strong the cannonballs just bounced off, earning the ship the nickname “Old Ironsides.”

Live oaks often lean, which may make some homeowners nervous. However, these protected trees, if healthy, are unlikely to fall over or drop limbs on the roof. Live oaks add a good deal of value to your property, so listen to your arborist if he recommends you leave the tree alone.

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