However, many people don't realize that plants have a dollar value of their own that can be measured by competent plant appraisers.
If your trees or shrubs are damaged or destroyed, you may be able to
recapture your loss through an insurance claim, or as a deduction from your
federal income tax.
Planning for Highest Value
A professional in the tree, nursery or landscape industry can help you plan, develop, install and care for your trees and plants so that each of them will be worth more to you.
How Your Trees and Shrubs Are Evaluated
Seek the advice of professionals in this field who have developed a set of guidelines for the evaluation. These guidelines have been widely adopted in the field and are recognized by insurance companies, the courts and, in some cases, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
What to Do If You Suffer Loss or Damage to Your Landscape Plants
A casualty loss is defined by the IRS as ". . . a loss resulting from an identifiable event of sudden, unexpected or unusual nature." This can include such things as vehicular accidents, storms, floods, lightning, vandalism, or even air and soil pollution.
If you suffer damage to trees or landscaping from any type of casualty,
first consult your homeowner's insurance policy to determine the amount and
kind of coverage. Contact the insurance company to arrange for them to have an
appraisal made by a competent tree and landscape professional who is
experienced in plant appraisal. Have the appraisal made right after your loss
or damage. The tree and landscape appraiser accomplishes many things for you.
He can see things you might miss, help correct damage, and prescribe remedies
you may be able to do yourself. The appraiser will establish the amount of
your loss in financial terms, including the cost of removing debris and making
repairs and replacements. All this is a wise investment, well worth the cost
you may incur for the inspection.
Trees which are hardy, durable, highly adaptable, and free from objectionable characteristics are worth the most. They require less maintenance; they have sturdy, well-shaped branches and pleasing foliage.
All of these factors can be measured in dollars and cents, and can determine the value of a tree, specimen shrubs or evergreens, whether for insurance purposes, court testimony in lawsuits, or for tax deductions.
Developed by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), a non-profit organization supporting tree care research around the world and dedicated to the care and preservation of shade and ornamental trees. For further information, contact: ISA, P.O. Box 3129, Champaign, IL 61826-3129, USA.
© 1995 International Society
UPDATED FEBRUARY 2000