By GRANT CROWELL, The Urban Foresters

Trees provide tangible value to the owner and the residents of our communities. Because this value exists, trees become an asset to a property. Return on asset value is pretty high on priority lists when I speak to professionals in the housing industry, so let’s use what we know about trees, tree biology and economics to lay out some best practices for tree care and management.

The first concept that must be well understood is that trees are long-lived. If you think about it, a given property might change owners, management companies, exterior design schemes, resident demographics or any number of other attributes over a 20- year period, but the trees themselves will still be there.

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Hard assets, like pools and clubhouses, can change dramatically over the decades. There aren’t many parts of the landscape that match this kind of longevity. So, what’s the point? Simply this: When making decisions about trees and in thinking about how you can leverage them to your benefit, it is paramount to involve your tree care contractor in your plans. Planning is a crucial component in any business. Failing to include your trees in your plans is a mistake.

Here’s an example: Let’s say you manage a portfolio with owners who are seeking buy-and-hold stability. They won’t tolerate big swings in NOI. The property itself has mature trees that have been there for a long time. Some of these trees may have underlying issues that could pop up in the middle of a 10-year business plan, costing the owners significant unexpected losses.

If you found yourself in this boat, you would have wished you inspected your trees a little more thoughtfully, right? You’d realize that you could have possibly removed those trees during the initial capital expense phase of the deal. If that same property were managed with a different outcome in mind, say perhaps a strategy where the owners were going to sell Who do you deal with? Trees are not just another bush or flower that your landscaper makes beautiful. A landscaper doesn’t have the appropriate tools in his or her trailer for dealing with trees. A tree service wouldn’t try to repair your irrigation for that matter either. soon, they may have chosen to avoid those long-term issues. It seems simple on paper but finding a vendor who both understands their trade and the innerworkings of your industry can be tough.

(to be continued)