Use the checklists below to evaluate the value of trees and shrubs in your yard. A thorough site analysis will help you identify plantings that may dramatically increase the value of your home. Don't remove any mature tree or shrub before considering it's worth today and tomorrow.
What to Consider
- Trees are the most valuable plants in a landscape because they are the most useful. For example, they may function as energy savers, air-conditioners, or wildlife havens.
- Shade trees can reduce the cost of heating and cooling your home by 10 to 50 percent.
- Landscape appraisers are in the best position to determine the most accurate value for the trees and shrubs in your yard.
- Size: A mature oak is more valuable than a fast-growing poplar because it is more difficult to replace. Generally, large trees provide more benefits (and have more value) than small ones.
- Type: Some kinds of trees have a higher value due to their hardiness, durability, adaptability, and overall desirability (sturdy, low-maintenance, or attractive). Japanese maples and dwarf conifers are among the most highly valued trees.
- Condition: Healthy, well-formed trees and shrubs have more value than malformed, poorly maintained, or storm-damaged plants.
- Location: The plant's value to the property arises from both functional and aesthetic considerations. Trees and shrubs that form a focal point, frame
the house, or stand in a hedgerow represent
- Have your trees and shrubs appraised; take pictures of them. Keep the records for insurance, legal, and income tax purposes. Insurance formulas take into account how easily a plant can be replaced.
- Become well-informed about the value of what you have before digging it up or cutting it down. It would be a shame to remove a valuable plant.
- Consider moving plants before removing them completely. Ask yourself whether removing the plant will cost more than the plant is worth.
- Once you know the value of a plant and have decided that it doesn't fit your overall landscape, contact local nurseries, botanical gardens, arboretums, or garden clubs -- you may find someone who will adopt the plant. Someone may even pay for the privilege.
- When adding a tree or shrub, always visualize its mature size and shape. Will it outgrow its location or become tangled in utility wires?