DEEP: DCP and DEEP Urge Homeowners to Make Tree Health Assessments Now While Trees Still Have Leaves

2018 Press Release
 
September 19, 2018
 
DCP and DEEP Urge Homeowners to Make Tree Health Assessments Now While Trees Still Have Leaves
 
Several preceding years of drought and invasive forest pests have dealt a heavy toll on Connecticut’s oak and ash trees. The Departments of Consumer Protection (DCP) and Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) advise homeowners to make assessment of risky dead trees prior to leaf drop later this fall. 
 
“Now is the time to identify and make a plan for those dead trees that may pose a risk to your home and yard,” Chris Martin, Director of DEEP’s Forestry Division. “Tree removal contractors are very busy these days and you could be placed on a long waiting list. While there are many reputable tree removal contractors, homeowners should practice due diligence before choosing one.” 
 
“Scammers and bad actors target consumers who are in a rush, and feel the need to act quickly,” said Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull, “That’s why it’s so important that consumers conduct this assessment, and any subsequent tree removal work done now instead of at the last minute. If consumers spend a little extra time doing research and homework before making a commitment, there’s a smaller chance that they will experience problems with their contractor.”
 
Signs you have a risky dead tree
 
Most healthy hardwood trees retain their leaves until the end of September, while unhealthy or dead trees have already shed or may have never produced leaves this growing season.  The lack of greenery during the growing season is clear indication a tree is dead and should be removed if it is a threat to property.
 
What you should do before hiring a contractor:
 
Shop around: When looking for a contractor, get multiple quotes to ensure that you are hiring the best person to work on your property. Remember, the cheapest option may not always be the best.
 
Verify a contractor has the proper credential: Anyone making changes to your property, including removing trees, must have a home improvement contractor registration, which can be verified by visiting elicense.ct.gov. However, if someone is doing more detailed work such as correctively pruning a tree, or doing other work associated with prolonging a tree’s life, they must have an Arborist’s license from DEEP.
 
Have a contract: Home improvement contractors are required to have a written contract with you before work may begin. Make sure you read it in its entirety, and ask any questions you may have. It will be helpful to know how long the work is anticipated to take, the costs, the final outcome and what responsibilities you may have in the process.
 
Ask for references: Ask your potential contractor for references from homeowners who have had that contractor do tree removal work on their property.
 
Be aware of scams: Avoid contractors who display signs of being a scammer. If someone makes the first contact with you, knocks on your door, won’t use a contract, doesn’t have references, or encourages you to pay in an untraceable form of payment such as wire transfer or cash, chances are it’s a scam.
 
If you have a complaint regarding a home improvement contractor that you haven’t been able to resolve by contacting that individual or business, you are encouraged to file a complaint with DCP by emailing dcp.complaints@ct.gov.
 
Background info
 
Starting in 2015, Connecticut experienced three consecutive years of expanding Gypsy moth caterpillar defoliation caused by dry springs.  This drought inhibited a moisture dependent soil fungus that solely impacts gypsy moth caterpillar from emerging. In addition, the statewide establishment of Emerald ash borer is causing extensive ash mortality.
 
Connecticut has been long recognized as having the highest WUI indices in the United States. WUI otherwise known as the Wildland-Urban Interface, is a term that recognizes the proximity of peoples' homes to forests, wetlands and grasslands. A common term used in fire prone areas of the US, many are surprised at Connecticut’s WUI ranking which is caused by a high percentage of tree canopy cover over a densely populated area. WUI helps explain why so many Connecticut residents are impacted by forest pest outbreaks and severe storms.