Property ownership is accompanied by numerous responsibilities — including the removal of dead trees.
"If your trees have dead limbs overhanging the street, sidewalk or alley, or another property owner's land, it's up to you to take care of it," said Paul Lewis, director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Dodge City.
With the drought and heat over the last two summers, many trees in Dodge City are damaged or dead.
"If the tree is more than 50 percent dead, you don't really have a tree left," said Kurth Lancaster, assistant parks superintendent.
The city and the shade tree commission conduct a dead tree survey from time to time and Lewis expects they'll do one this fall.
Normally, dead trees are marked during the survey and propery owners notified that the trees need to be removed.
If the city receives a complaint about your trees, they'll be in touch. But they recommend you take care of any problems now, when the fall weather makes the task easier. It's also a good time to think about replacement trees — planting them in the fall gives them a better start and there might be some good deals out there now as well.
"People can do the work themselves," Lewis said, "But we encourage them to contact a licensed arborist."
The city maintains a list of arborits currently licensed.
There's also a list of recommended tree species for the area.
"We take into account how much room there is, if there are overhead power lines and other conditions in an effort to get the right tree in the right place," Lewis said.
Any time work is done in the right-of-way, a permit is required. There is no charge for the permit.
The primary reason for dead tree removal, in addition to aesthetic reasons, is the danger of limbs breaking off during windy or icy weather.
"A lot of times in the fall, we'll get a wet rain while there's still leaves on the trees, then that moisture freezes overnight and those heavy leaves drag down the branches," Lancaster said.
An arborist will take care of any permits required and most will take care of removing the debris from your property.
A licensed arborist also carried adequate liability insurance to protect himself and you during the work.
Should you decide to do the work yourself, the refuse can be piled at the curb but not on the street. Call the City of Dodge City Public Works Department sanitation division at 225-8170 to schedule pickup. The fee for removal is $25 per load plus Ford County landfill fees, which are currently $33 per ton. The fee will be added to your water utility bill.
Page 2 of 2 - Ford County Extension has printed material available and their Web site has information about pruning and caring for trees as well as tree removal. Call them at 227-4542 or visit their Web site at www.ksre.ksu.edu.
The city provides the following tips for hiring a tree care professional:
-Ask to see a copy of the individual's license to work in Dodge City; one is required to legally work in Dodge City.
-Ask for certificates of liability insurance. Contact the insurance company to ensure that the policy is current (otherwise, you could be held liable for injury or property damage).
-Ask for local references and talk with former clients.
-Don't pay in advance and don't let yourself be rushed by bargain prices.
-Get price estimates from more than one company, if possible.