Upper Cut Tree Services
What Are Your Trees Worth?
Almost everyone knows that trees and other living plants are valuable. They beautify our surroundings,
purify our air, act as sound barriers, manufacture precious oxygen, and help us save energy through
their cooling shade in summer and their wind reduction in winter.
Many people don’t realize, however, that plants have a dollar value of their own that can be measured by
competent plant appraisers. If your trees or shrubs are damaged or destroyed, you may be able to
recapture your loss through an insurance claim or as a deduction from your federal income tax.
Some Practical Advice
Here is some practical advice that may help you find out what your trees and plants are worth (a process
known as valuation).
Planning for Highest Value
A professional in the tree, nursery, or landscape industry can help you plan, develop, install, and care for
all of your trees and plants so that each of them will be worth more to you.
How Your Trees and Shrubs Are Valuated
Seek the advice of professionals in this industry who have developed a set of guidelines for the
valuation. Such guidelines have been widely adopted in the field and are recognized by insurance
companies, the courts, and, in some cases, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
What to Do If You Suffer Loss or Damage to Your Landscape Plants
A casualty loss is defined by the IRS as “… a loss resulting from an identifiable event of sudden,
unexpected, or unusual nature.” This definition can include such events as vehicular accidents, storms,
floods, lightning, vandalism, or even air and soil pollution.
If you suffer damage to trees or landscaping from any type of casualty, first consult your home owner’s
insurance policy to determine the amount and kind of coverage. Contact the insurance company to have
an appraisal made by a competent tree and landscape professional who is experienced in plant
appraisal. Have the appraisal made right after your loss or damage.
The tree and landscape appraiser accomplishes many things for you. The professional can see things
you might miss, help correct damage, and prescribe remedies you may be able to do yourself. The
appraiser will establish the amount of your loss in financial terms, including the cost of removing debris
and making repairs as well as replacements. All of these steps are wise investments and well worth
the cost you may incur for the inspection.
Four Factors in Professional Valuation of Trees and Other Plants
- Size. Sometimes the size and age of a tree are such that it cannot be replaced. Trees that are
too large to be replaced should be assessed by professionals who use a specialized appraisal
- Species or classification. Trees that are hardy, durable, highly adaptable, and free from
objectionable characteristics are most valuable. They require less maintenance; they have
sturdy, well-shaped branches, and pleasing foliage. Tree values vary according to your region,
the “hardiness” zone, and even state and local conditions. If you are not familiar with these
variables, be sure your advice comes from a competent source.
- Condition. The professional will also consider the condition of the plant. Obviously, a healthy,
well-maintained plant has a higher value. Roots, trunk, branches, and buds need to be
- Location. Functional considerations are important. A tree in your yard may be worth more than
one growing in the woods. A tree standing alone often has a higher value than one in a group. A
tree near your house or one that is a focal point in your landscape tends to have more value. The
site, placement, and contribution of a tree to the overall landscape help determine the overall
value of the plant attributable to location.
All of these factors can be measured in dollars and cents. They can determine the value of a tree,
specimen shrubs, or evergreens, whether for insurance purposes, court testimony in lawsuits, or tax
Copyright 2007 ISA