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Homeowner 'devastated' after HOA mandate leaves protected tree in danger: 'I'm a nervous wreck'

"Never hire a lawn company for an arborist's job."

"Never hire a lawn company for an arborist’s job."

Photo Credit: iStock

After a 30-day notice from their homeowners association, a first-time homeowner rushed to a decision with potentially devastating consequences for their Florida live oak.

The concerned homeowner took to r/arborists to explain their predicament in a post, hoping for advice.

"Never hire a lawn company for an arborist's job."
Photo Credit: Reddit
"Never hire a lawn company for an arborist's job."
Photo Credit: Reddit

The vague violation notice warned the residents to trim back the canopy of their live oak before they received a fine.

Quick to action, they hired their lawn company to do it for $2,000 and only began to question and research their decision after the damage was already done.

It turns out the live oak is a protected species in Florida that requires a permit or an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) certified arborist's approval to trim.

They fear too much was taken off the tree, risking its health. Some major branches were hanging too low over the street, but without documentation or before-and-after pictures, it's difficult to determine what was necessary to remove.

They also didn't clarify which "low branches" the HOA was referring to in fear of the fine and now worry they'll be fined by the city anyway.

"I'm devastated bc it was such a beautiful tree," they wrote in the post. "I'm a nervous wreck over all of this."

Trees are some of the oldest living organisms on our planet. They encourage biodiversity by preserving soil while improving air and water quality. National Geographic reported that the livelihoods of more than 1.5 billion people — roughly 20% of the global population — rely on trees.

🗣️ Should an HOA be able to decide what your home looks like?

🔘 YES 👍

🔘 NO 👎

🗳️ Click your choice to see results and speak your mind

Unfortunately, HOAs tend to be more concerned with aesthetics, codes, and maximizing the value of their property. Because of this, they're often strong-armed against money-saving and eco-friendly lifestyle changes around the home, such as solar panels, gardening, and rewilding

Conversation is always a great place to start and encourage change within your HOA. Gently explain your point of view, and be sure to emphasize shared financial benefits. 

The post was met with disdain for HOAs and sorrow for the live oak.

"Never hire a lawn company for an arborist's job," one comment warned.

Another commenter identified themselves as an arborist, writing, "With trees you need to always think 5 years into the future…Next time though hire a professional arborist service. The higher cost is much worth it!"

One more gave some great advice saying, "If they call themselves an arborist, ask for their ISA certification number … From there you can look up the certification number on treesaregood.org." 

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