What factors should be considered when managing trees in an HOA?
Trees can serve as a great visual asset for your community association. Not only do trees add to the overall landscape but they also create oxygen and protect us from the elements. Regulating and encouraging proper tree management is essential for several reasons. A tree may develop a disease, have dangerous limbs, or a homeowner may plant so many, their yard looks like a forest. Encouraging the right types of trees and regulating responsibility is possible for healthy trees and happy members in your association.
Outline Who is Responsible and Why
Trees add to a touch of nature to walking paths and shade to a playground, making them a great addition to common areas. Association members must know that while the common areas are meant for sharing, the trees are off-limits. A homeowner isn’t allowed to trim a tree in a common area simply because it is blocking their view.
Defining what the association allows, what the association prohibits, and any fines regarding damage are something best included in governing documents. The document language should note the consequences of harming trees in common areas, such as the association’s right to recoup costs to repair any damage.
When an association member trims a tree in a common area without the authority to do so, they risk becoming injured or causing harm to others. A falling branch may send them or a neighbor to the hospital, leaving the association with questions of liability.
Educate and Engage
There are simple ways to educate and to engage your association when it comes to tree maintenance and regulations. If members express concerns about tree limbs or other tree issues in a common area, schedule a volunteer day. Schedule the event around a corresponding national day, such as Earth Day or other celebrations. Reward members with a cookout or an outdoor movie event at the end of the day.
Contact a local arborist, or ask your HOA landscaping company for someone, to present a talk about trees. Association members can learn about proper tree maintenance and ask questions about their own trees. Some members may be surprised to learn about how occasionally maintaining trees can help prevent wildfire issues.
Ask the speaker to include a small and easy activity for children to do after their presentation. This can not only teach children about trees, but it may also result in better attendance by families. Hold a drawing for landscaping prizes, such as fertilizer, pruning equipment, or gardening gloves.
Tree education doesn’t have to be boring. By creating fun ways of incorporating important information, you’ll be well on your way to a healthier tree community.