Fallen Tree Removal
Webster Groves is known for its majestic tree-lined streets, urban forest, and amazing parks. Who is responsible for the removal of the tree and any damage it may have caused during a major storm when one of these trees falls?
Most large insurers offer coverage for fallen trees under a homeowners’ policy. Generally, a tree that falls during a storm is considered an “act of God” and it becomes the responsibility of the property owner where the tree falls and comes to rest. Meaning if the tree stood on “Lot A”, then fell into “Lot B”, the owners of both lots would be responsible to remove the tree up to the adjoining property line. If any damage occurs the individual property owners would file a claim with their own insurance company.
A question we often hear is, “what about the City-owned trees?” Just like a privately-owned tree that falls, the City cannot stop a tree from falling in an “act of God.” Sometimes, healthy trees fall. Sometimes, a healthy tree will drop a limb. In these instances, the City has the same responsibilities as any other property owner. We will remove the tree that is on City property (streets, sidewalks, rights-of-way, parks), but City staff can’t enter your private property and remove the tree that is laying in your yard. As far as damages that a City-owned tree may cause, they too are the same as the privately-owned trees. A homeowner would call their personal insurance agent to make a claim against their homeowner’s policy. The City’s policy will not cover the damage done to private property during an “act of God.”
Waste Management will collect the smaller parts of downed trees during normal yard waste collection. Their requirements are that limbs and prunings are tied using natural fiber twine, bundles should be no longer than four (4) feet, no greater than eighteen (18) inches in diameter, and no heavier than sixty (60) pounds. As long as your bundles conform to these specifications you can set out an unlimited amount. You may also use a trash can or mobile cart. These too must weigh less than sixty (60) pounds when filled, and all the debris must not extend over the top of the can. A homeowner will need to provide their own removal, or hire a contractor, to remove parts of the tree that are too large to meet Waste Management’s specification. The City is not able to pick up all of the trunks and fallen trees from around the entire City.
Click here for a one-page guide on who is responsible for fallen trees.