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  1. #1

    Default Tree Removal Service Removed Wrong Tree

    My question involves a consumer law issue in the State of: NY

    What recourse do I have if a tree removal comany removed the wrong tree? They were hired to remove dead trees and dead saplings, but took down a 40 year old flowering tree. It is a common wild tree, but we loved watching it bloom each year.

    I know it can be hard to tell if a tree is dead in winter since there are no leaves, but this tree had many seed pods from this year hanging on it which should have been a sign it was recently alive, and not intended for removal as a dead plant.

    The dead trees/saplings that were supposed to come down all had easily visible evidence that they were dead--mushrooms, missing bark, insect holes... the trees were also much larger than the one they killed (and marked w spray paint), and the saplings were small enough to wrap your fingers around.

    The 40 year old tree was narrow for its age but definitely not small enough to be a sapling.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Tree Removal Service Removed Wrong Tree

    I would think it would be a good idea to speak with them and ask why they removed that particular tree.

    Most people I know will designate which trees are to be removed and not leave it to the service to decide. Did you specifically indicate which trees were to be removed and possibly indicating which stay when you hired them?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Tree Removal Service Removed Wrong Tree

    Quote Quoting SubjacentSupport
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    What recourse do I have if a tree removal comany removed the wrong tree? They were hired to remove dead trees and dead saplings, but took down a 40 year old flowering tree. It is a common wild tree, but we loved watching it bloom each year.
    Where were you when they were doing the work?

    If you weren't there to SHOW them which trees and WATCH them while they were working, then this is your own fault. Bad things happen when you let people work on your property without being there.

    Frankly, I don't see you getting any money out of the tree removal company. But I could be wrong.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Tree Removal Service Removed Wrong Tree

    Take a look at NY Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law, section 861.
    Text can be found online.
    For trees wrongfully removed from your own property, the statute gives you certain remedies.

    But if your point is that the tree was cut down on someone else's property, and you're just unhappy because you enjoyed looking at the tree, I don't think you'd have a good claim against the tree removal company.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Tree Removal Service Removed Wrong Tree

    When you contacted the tree removal company to complain that it removed the wrong tree, what response did you receive?

  6. #6

    Default Re: Tree Removal Service Removed Wrong Tree

    Thanks for all the quick replies!


    Quote Quoting jk
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    I would think it would be a good idea to speak with them and ask why they removed that particular tree.

    Most people I know will designate which trees are to be removed and not leave it to the service to decide. Did you specifically indicate which trees were to be removed and possibly indicating which stay when you hired them?
    When I saw them half way through the trunk of the flowering tree I was astounded--the guy cutting the tree said "it's a dead sapling", I showed him the seed pods from this year--definitely not dead, and that it definitely wasn't a sapling--it was more than 20 years old (only after counting the rings did I have a better estimate of the age).

    The trees to be removed were huge and obviously long-dead by looking at the bark; they were also marked with brightly colored spray paint. The only dead saplings that were supposed to be removed were the ones in the way of removing the large trees--they were directly next to one of the spray painted trees. The owner told me the dead saplings would be removed because they were in the way of the large dead tree removal, I told him they didn't have to remove them as I could easily take them down myself, he said no charge--it would be easy enough to take them down when removing the large trees.

    The flowering tree was not remotely a sapling (circumference greater than 2 feet) and had signs of life from this year.

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
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    Where were you when they were doing the work?

    If you weren't there to SHOW them which trees and WATCH them while they were working, then this is your own fault. Bad things happen when you let people work on your property without being there.

    Frankly, I don't see you getting any money out of the tree removal company. But I could be wrong.

    I was in the yard, which is how I saw them half way through the trunk of the flowering tree. They came more than an hour early which was an inconvenience for us but we attended to them as best we could. They had been cleaning and prepping their equipment for 15 or 20 minutes as I milled about waiting to see if they needed me, setting up the chipper, the saws, etc.--the first tree they cut was the wrong one, it happened fast and there's no going back once you get a chainsaw in a trunk.

    It is a small company with an excellent reputation and I expected the person who gave the estimate to be clear with his workers about the work to be done--and I expect workers for a tree removal company to know the difference between a dead sapling and a live tree.

    The flowering tree was over 20 feet tall, more than 2 ft circumference and was mature enough to reproduce based on the 50? 100? more? seed pods hanging from its branches (many at head-height so they shouldn't have been missed and it had been producing seed pods for decades)--definitely not a sapling.

    "Sapling
    A sapling is a small tree usually between 1 and 4 inches in diameter at 4.5 feet. This is the standard height where a tree’s diameter is measured – diameter at breast height (DBH). Typically, a sapling is the size of a tree that is growing in a commercial nursery for transplanting to your yard. In this juvenile state, the tree is not mature enough to reproduce. However, it is growing rapidly. The sapling encounters similar types of competition and threats to that of a seedling."

    http://texastreeid.tamu.edu/content/howTreesGrow/

    Quote Quoting MiddlePart
    View Post
    Take a look at NY Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law, section 861.
    Text can be found online.
    For trees wrongfully removed from your own property, the statute gives you certain remedies.

    But if your point is that the tree was cut down on someone else's property, and you're just unhappy because you enjoyed looking at the tree, I don't think you'd have a good claim against the tree removal company.

    Thanks--I will look into that. The tree was on our property--luckily I happen have pics of the tree from this summer because it was flowering so beautifully.

    Quote Quoting pg1067
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    When you contacted the tree removal company to complain that it removed the wrong tree, what response did you receive?
    I was on site when it happened, only I called the main office to have a supervisor come over to talk about the problem.

    When the man came he agreed that it shouldn't have been cut down, reprimanded the on-site head for the project that they should know the difference between a live tree and a dead sapling and he should have directed the man with the saw better.

    They offered me a discount on the cost of the tree removal I hired them for as they couldn't find a comparable replacement tree at a local nursery.

    My own searches turned up only one mature (flowering---takes more than 5 years to get there) tree, less than 1/2 the caliper of my tree (measurement taken across the cut surface). The cost of that tree before shipping is more than the price of the job we hired them for. That nursery doesn't ship to this side of the country, so there's no replacing what has been cut down even with that lesser sized tree--which would also require planting in an area where we'd need to damage root systems of many of our trees to dig out a proper sized hole.

  7. #7
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    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: Tree Removal Service Removed Wrong Tree

    Quote Quoting SubjacentSupport
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    My own searches turned up only one mature (flowering---takes more than 5 years to get there) tree, less than 1/2 the caliper of my tree (measurement taken across the cut surface). The cost of that tree before shipping is more than the price of the job we hired them for. That nursery doesn't ship to this side of the country, so there's no replacing what has been cut down even with that lesser sized tree--which would also require planting in an area where we'd need to damage root systems of many of our trees to dig out a proper sized hole.
    He owes you the value of the tree whether you get another comparable tree or not. Even if it's $5000 or $10,000 or $20,000. Just like a car wreck. You get the value of the car even if you don't buy another one.

    You're going to have to escalate this up to the owner of the company and put everything in writing (with pictures), especially what the supervisor said about the worker screwing up.

    You might even want to hire an arborist now who can report that the tree was live when it was cut. You'll want to do that quickly while there is still evidence that the tree was live.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Tree Removal Service Removed Wrong Tree

    Thanks--I've called an arborist who should be able to value the tree but we're in the middle of an ice and snow storm today so I'm thinking it might be a few days before I hear back as I'm sure there will be some emergency work he needs to look into (based on the number of wires down and transformers blowing last night...), and our situation is stable.

    I am hoping he can give an estimate mostly based on photos as they chipped the tree immediately. The stump looks good and I have a pic from this summer next to a measurable item that gives the approximate height of the tree, and the rings give the age.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Tree Removal Service Removed Wrong Tree

    He's going to have to be able to testify that the tree was live at the time the worker cut into it. The sooner he sees it, the better.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Tree Removal Service Removed Wrong Tree

    Agreed--here's hoping he can be here this week, not sure how long the stump will tell its being alive tale...

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