TIMBER! Tips for getting the city to do your dirty work.

Thanks so much for your kind words, advice, encouragement, and blessings through our pregnancy! We are super happy to announce we gave birth on 1/23/2013 to a healthy baby boy we lovingly named Atlas Archer. He has gobbled up our attention, and I am sure he will continue to do so indefinitely.  A lot has happened since our last post. A LOT. We will catch you fine folks up bit by bit, but let’s start will a small victory pre-baby!

sleeping baby

This isn’t us being cheap, trust me. We had a rotting tree in the very front of our yard which housed carpenter ants and/or termites and we got some quotes to get it removed. First quote, $2,000 smackers. Yep. $1K to cut it down and $1K to get rid of the stump. Next quote seemed reasonable at $800, but what do we know? We never had to have a tree removed before. The closest thing we got to this was throwing away a Bonzi that my awesome green thumb happened to kill. This was serious, and not in our DIY ability.

So while chatting with our neighbor who is older and wiser, she exclaimed “Have the city do it! That’s a city tree!”. That idea was totally up our ally. This also supports my case of we are not being cheap but me telling you a little TMI. Guess how much we pay in property/school tax? Go on. Guess. $25,000 a year on average. We have no children in the public school system, and we wont. We have paid something like $75,000 since we moved in and this was the first thing we were requesting. Yes, yes we know they take our trash and deliver our mail and fix our roads (which they are pretty awesome at up here in Westchester), but for $75K, heck I would DIY that if it left me with some extra money in the bank. So saving a grand or two made us very happy and somehow justified our $75K in tax contribution over the past three years. So back to the tree…

Oh man. This tree. If you ever want to practice being a Real Housewife of New Jersey, then try and get the city to take down one of their carpenter ant/termite infested trees which just happens to live on the edge of your property. If you can get someone on the phone in less than a dozen tries, tell me where you live because I want to move there.

I suspect where we live is a bit overpopulated and that’s why it was such a pain in the butt, but I have some tips and tricks to help you get that nasty thing off your property and replaced with a new one if you want.

How to get your tree removed for free:

1 – Make sure your tree is within city guidelines of being a “public” tree. For us, it’s he first three feet of property is owned by the city, hence, their tree, their problem. When you call, someone will most likely come and inspect the tree to confirm if it’s theirs to deal with.

2 – Do a search for “Bureau of Forestry + your town”. You want to find the contact information for the City Tree Inspector.

3 – We called because they hadn’t yet set up the online form. I am sure every town has it’s own process and perhaps a small fee. Ours was $25, but they never charged us.

4 – Be prepared to call and follow up. Over and over and over again. It must have taken a dozen calls to have them come and remove the branches (step 1), and then we had to call about 10 more times to find out when the “stump” would be removed only to find out there was no budget left until January. Once January hit, we called every day until someone finally someone called back and told us the stup would be removed. Victory!

5 – Tree planting is offered in most towns as well. We like having a pretty tree there, just knot the gnarly termites/carpenter ants, so we will be requesting a replacement next.

city tree

city tree

The moment the tree finally came down, Joey was able to catch it on his iPhone as he stayed nice and toasty inside as it found it’s way to the ground.

Right now things are looking a little more like this:

front of house, tudor house

Winter really kills the landscape around here.

We really hope this was helpful. We had no idea the city would remove the tree at no cost with just a bit of pushing! Do you have any tips to share?

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  1. Ashleen Moreen says:

    Whenever winter comes. We also have a problem with the landscape. It’s a bit hard to turn what have been destroyed by the winter.

  2. It’s was good choice that you had the tree cut. It can be a good source of termites’ nest. Having to cut those trees that are possibly infested are a good way to prevent termites from invading further possible areas in your property.

  3. What a success and a beautiful result. The tree removal was done right.

  4. I think it is great that timber suppliers will come to take away trees. After all, you are providing them with the material that they are selling for free. Plus, you know that your waste is going to be recycled! Great idea.

  5. I’m so glad you got them to cut down the tree, and a video of it too. Did they come back and grind the stump or plant a new tree like you were hoping?

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