Many residents have posted on social media lately about the dramatic measures their HOAs have taken to achieve a certain look for the neighborhood at the expense of eco-friendly lifestyles. One poster told Reddit about hundreds of dollars in fines and the loss of “garden privileges” for having a garden four inches too wide, and another user had to hire a lawyer to defend their solar panel installation.
For this Redditor, the issue is a tree that commenters identify as a peeling river birch. While the photos the original poster shares do look unusual, with large pieces of papery bark curling away from the tree trunk, the name tells the whole story: the tree is supposed to look like that.
“Cold, dry winters can do this,” one commenter elaborates. “Especially if it’s still cold overnight in spring.”
The original poster confirms, “That’s my climate!”
But the user claims they still received instructions from their HOA to “take care of” the tree, which it said was dying.
“They said to call tree people and ask what we can do for the tree,” the original poster says, adding that, despite the HOA having no evidence that there’s a problem, they’ve asked them to pay for all the removal costs on their own.
One commenter has been in a similar position before, with an unhappy ending.
“If it’s like my old HOA, they will cut it down to save money on insurance (fire, pipes, falling branches, whatever stupid reason they come up with) and then replace it with nothing,” they write. “It’ll be an ugly stump in the middle of a dirt patch. I do so hope your HOA can be reasoned with because mine could not.”
In some states, the original poster would have legal protections for native plants like the river birch.
For example, one Maryland couple recently changed state law to protect their native wildflowers from an overbearing HOA. However, in some cases, homeowners have to be willing to pursue legal action to keep their eco-friendly upgrades.
“You gotta fight for that tree!” one commenter tells the original poster, who responds, “The next time they contact me, I will!”
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